Archive of ‘cakes’ category

Apricot and Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

The smell of baked cinnamon rolls wafting through the house is the ultimate in festive comfort at this time of year. Added cranberries and apricots give these a seasonal twist – the perfect thing to enjoy on a cold winters morning. 
For the rolls
450g strong white flour
75g dried cranberries
1tsp fast acting dried yeast
1tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
150ml hot milk and 150ml hot water mixed together – hot but not boiling!
For the filling
25g butter, melted
50g light brown sugar
2tbsp ground cinnamon
75g dried apricots, cut into small pieces
Makes 8 rolls

- Place the flour, cranberries, yeast, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl and stir together. Now add the hot milk and water and mix together using an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment for 5 minutes – if you don’t have an electric mixer that’s fine, you can just use your hands and mix and knead for about 10 minutes. Once the dough has been mixed and kneaded, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 ½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1 cm thick, spread the surface with the melted butter and scatter over the sugar, cinnamon and apricot pieces in an even layer, making sure you reach the edges. Now roll the dough into a tight sausage shape, slice into 8 even pieces and place these, swirl side up on a lightly oiled baking tray.
- Leave in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, or if you want to make these for breakfast next day you can leave them in the fridge overnight (although if you do this, you will need to take the rolls out of the fridge and leave for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature before baking).
- When you are ready to bake the rolls, preheat the oven to 180°C and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the rolls are well risen and a lovely golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. You can eat the rolls as they are, but for an extra delicious twist make up some icing using 3tbsp icing sugar, 1tbsp water and 1tsp vanilla extract and drizzle over the top of the hot rolls. Tear off and eat warm – heavenly!
By Millie Norton

Very Chocolately Muffins

You can’t beat cake…. especially when it’s chocolate! So we combined both together to create some delicious light muffins with big chunks of oozy melted chocolate. Perfect with a cuppa!  
8 Squares of White Chocolate 
200g Butter 
85g Brown Sugar 
3 Eggs 
2tbsp Cocoa Powder 
150g Self Raising Flour  
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Put the chocolate squares into the freezer (so they don’t burn when cooking) and pop the muffin liners into the tin. 
3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs and cocoa powder and beat again until well mixed.  
4. Using a metal spoon fold in the flour. Fill the cases up to just over half full with the mixture. 
5. Then place one chunk of chocolate in the middle of each and put into the oven to cook for 18-20 mins. 
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tray for 5 mins. 
7. Eat straight away, leave to cool completely or pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to let the chocolate melt again when you need them – the choice is yours!!

Recipe and photography by Ailie Williams

Easter Egg Nests

Next to Christmas, Easter is the most food-oriented holiday of the year. If you want a break from all of the usual Easter eggs you snack on over the weekend, why not take a stab at these tasty Easter Egg Nests?
Makes 4
2 tbsp golden syrup
56g butter
2 dsp brown sugar
4 large handfuls of cornflakes
1 tbsp peanuts
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp dried pineapple 
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp dessicated coconuts
Mini chocolate eggs

- Put the golden syrup, butter and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then change from a medium to a low heat and boil for 1 min
- Add the syrup to the cornflakes and mix, make sure that they are all covered in a sticky layer
- Add the coconut flakes, dessicated coconut, raisins, dried pineapple and peanuts and mix
- Press down the mixture in cupcake cases, press the mixture down in the middle and sprinkle a little dessicated coconut over each ‘nest’ and place a mini chocolate egg in each
- Ready to eat!

Something for the Weekend

Whenever The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens, it gets us all excited about perfecting our pastries and encourages us to try out a new cake recipe.  And what better an occasion to celebrate dusting off the apron and wooden spoons than The Cake and Bake Show! The UK’s first consumer baking exhibition will take place this weekend at Earls Court. Whether you need to stock up on bowls and whisks and want tips on perfecting your sponges, or if you are more of a taster than a baker, the event provides everything required for that perfect bake.  

Take a stroll down to The Marketplace where you can try and buy some freshly baked cakes and breads from some of the country’s leading bakers.  Then head over to the Supplier Zone to pick up some tools of the trade, demonstrated by the exhibitors themselves.  When you are ready to get your hands dirty, The Classroom will be ready with classes on soda bread, sugarcraft, gluten-free baking and (the bakers nemesis) macaroons, to name but a few.  
Some well known names and faces of the baking industry will be showing off their skills in The Cake Kitchen and The Bakery.  Paul Hollywood will be revealing his secrets of the perfect loaf, Juliet Sear of Fancy Nancy cakes will be showing off her cake decorating skills and Great British Bake Off winners Jo Wheatley and Edd Kimber will be showcasing us why they were such deserved champions.
All the baking can get quite exhausting after a while, so you may wish to head over to The Tea Room Garden and enjoy a relaxing cuppa.  And if you haven’t already eaten too much by that point, they will be serving a wide selection of cakes, scones and sandwiches, all in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  Well, since it’s for a good cause…
If you can’t wait that long to sample the baking goodies, then why not try this recipe for Perfect Whipped Buttercream Cupcakes by speaker Juliet Sear to get you in the mood…
By Eve Hegarty

Time for Tea

With the third series of The Great British Bake Off well underway on BBC2, the pastime of making time for tea has never been more popular. 
If you’ve been inspired by what you’ve seen on the programme, then be sure to pick up the accompanying book, which promises to turn your everyday bakes into showstoppers, under the expert instruction of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. With easy-to-follow recipes and lots of handy hints on perfecting the more technical elements of baking, it’s a failsafe guide on how to whip up a gourmet meringue, prove a perfect loaf and avoid the most dreaded baker’s downfall of all- the utterly terrifying soggy bottom! 
Once you’ve mastered an array of goodies, then your can turn your attention to presentation- which, as we all know from Mr. Hollywood is just as important as a good bake. With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the prettiest tea party pieces around:

So whether you’re attempting a tarte tatin, wrestling a rum baba recipe or just enjoying a good old fashioned cuppa, there’s no excuse not to do it in style. Happy baking!
By Sarah Farrell

Fluttery buttery

Here are some très feminine buttery buttercream biscuits that we think make a great gift idea and a sweet alternative to cupcakes!


For the biscuit
10 oz plain flour
5 oz caster sugar
8 oz soft butter, diced
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp salt

For the butter cream
2 oz softened butter
3 oz icing sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla essence
1 tsp water

For the decoration
Icing sugar 2/3 oz
Water (only enough to mix sugar into smooth mixture)
Food colouring (green and blue)
Ready to roll white icing (if preferred)
Writing icing
Butterfly cookie cutter
1 pack of pretty ‘n’ pink edible pieces

* To make the biscuit, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl; add the egg yolk and vanilla essence and beat until the mixture is smooth.
* Add the flour and salt and mix together to form a smooth dough, mould the dough and wrap it in cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 mins.
* Heat the oven to 180C.
* Roll the dough to ¼ in thick and using the butterfly cookie cutter cut out 14 butterfly dough shapes and arrange on a greased baking tray.
* Cook for 12 minutes or until golden and leave them to cool.
* Decorate half the biscuits; roll out your white icing, use the butterfly cutter to get the same shape and place on top of the biscuit.
* Make different coloured icing for the decoration of the wings and use the pink pieces for extra decoration
* To make the butter icing, beat the butter, then gradually beat in the icing sugar, water, and vanilla essence and spread the icing over the undecorated biscuit
* Sandwich together carefully.
* These can be put into a small cup cake box and wrapped in a ribbon bow to be given as a quirky and cute present for a birthday or thank you gift.
By Melodie Walter

Sweet Valentine’s Treats

What is it about food in the shape of a heart that makes it just look so much more appealing? Who knows but it really does!

Whether you’re spending a romantic Valentine’s Day with your beloved or are flying solo this year, we hope you find some time to whip up some delicious V Day treats like these.

Prop styling and photography Hannah Irish 
Food styling Alexandra Burleigh

Weekend Inspiration

We love reading new recipes and salivating over images of gorgeous food, so this week we thought we’d share some of our food inspiration with you. It’s enough to make our stomachs start rumbling… good job we’ve got a roast in the oven.
 [p.s we just had to include those hamburger cakes… aren’t they great!]

Happy Birthday Mint Velvet

It was tea and cakes all round at the preview of Mint Velvet’s new collection and to celebrate their first birthday. Held in a charming café just off the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street we were greeted with a choice of tea, champagne or the most delicious mint lemonade I’ve ever tasted. Alongside this was a selection of dainty cakes from cupcakes to teeny tiny brownies. Yummy.

Whilst our tastebuds were being tickled with these delights, we had a chance to sneak a peek at the new range, which is gorgeous. From buttery soft leather jackets to lace dresses, this is a collection to drool over. In the muted smoky greys, khakis and caramels of the season, the clothes were subtle but none the less desirable.
Our absolute favourite piece was a gorgeous soft grey sheepskin coat. Falling at hip level, this was the most stroke-able coat and wearing it would be like giving yourself a hug in the cold mornings of winter. We couldn’t stop touching it and at a very reasonable £120 it is most definitely on our autumn wishlists. We loved this collection and will certainly be keeping an eye on them in the future.

By Amy Peck