Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Pink Raspberry Spice Cake

Last week I made a special cake for a very special lady. Mr Makes' Nan turned 98! She is a truly amazing woman and she deserved an amazing cake. I pinned this Raspberry Spice Cake a while back. Oh yes! It has SIX layers of cake, spiced with cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice (I skipped the cloves), sandwiched together with Tiptree raspberry jam, and covered with creamy cream cheese icing. I left my raspberries in the fridge at home (ooops!), but luckily I had some bright candles and pink sugar hearts to hand.

I tinted my sponge pink for an extra wow factor! I was going for pink ombre, but didn't quite pull it off and ended up with just pink! In case the trend has passed you by, ombre is a french word meaning shaded and ombre cake has layers tinted to go from light to dark.

This is one of the most delicious cakes I've made (even if I say so myself!). It received great reviews and I will most definitely be making again. The spice isn't overpowering and goes oh so well with the jam and cream cheese icing. I must say that the BBCgoodfood recipe made too much icing - I used about half on the cake and the rest to ice 16 chocolate cupcakes! Here's my adapted recipe...

Pink Raspberry Spice Cake

250g unsalted butter, softened
450g plain flour
140g golden caster sugar
140g light soft brown sugar
5 large eggs
4 tbsp honey
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp buttermilk
pink food colouring
For the filling and icing:
200g good quality raspberry jam
120g unsalted butter
120g cream cheese
120g icing sugar
raspberries to decorate (don't leave them in the fridge like I did!) 

1. Preheat oven to 160° (140°fan). Grease and line 3 x 20cm tins.
2. Pop all your ingredients into a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until smooth. 
3. If you want to attempt ombre you can divide your mixture and tint. I used pink food colour paste. 

4. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 25-35 minutes (mine needed 35 minutes).
5. Cut each cake in half and spread raspberry jam between the layers. 
6. For the icing, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar until smooth. 
7. Spread the icing all over. You can make it look pretty with some raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Cheese & Chorizo Muffins

These cheesy delights would be perfect for a picnic. Oh how I love a lazy afternoon at the park with a basket full of nibbles... Unfortunately this Great British wash-out of a summer doesn't look like it'll improve anytime soon. So it's just as well that these muffins taste just as good indoors!

Cheese & Chorizo Muffins (makes 12)

300g self raising flour
1 tsp paprika
80g butter, diced
170g medium cheddar, grated
30g parmigiano reggiano , finely grated
1 egg
250ml semi-skimmed milk
70g sliced chorizo
around 6 spring onions
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 190°C (170° fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
2. Sift flour and paprika into a large bowl. Add butter and, using your fingertips, rub it into the flour until you have a fine breadcrumb-like texture. 

3. Stir in chorizo, cheeses and spring onions.

4. Beat the egg with the milk, then stir into the dry mixture.
5. Divide between the muffin cases and bake for 16-20 minutes.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Feltie Friday

I love making felties - they're small, perfectly formed nuggets of cute. These lovely creatures are characters from Animal Crossing, one of my favourite video games. Maple and Rosie live in my village. Yep, that's right folks, I'm a bit of a nerd!

I made these sun lovin' fellas a while back and I'm hoping to make more Animal Crossing villagers soon, so look out for future Feltie Friday posts.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts

In my opinion, these baked doughnuts are as good as any deep fried ones. Mr Makes agrees (he ate three of them in as many minutes!). They're an awesome Sunday morning bake and they make the house smell lovely.

Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts (makes 12)

100g vegetable fat (I used Trex)
175g caster sugar
1 egg
125ml milk
185g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
To coat:
60g butter, melted
100g granulated sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Grease and flour a 12 hole muffin tin - this is really important, do it and your doughnuts will come out in one piece!
2. Beat the vegetable fat and caster sugar until smooth and creamy - this will take a few minutes.
3. In two separate bowls: mix the egg with the milk in one, and in the other stir the baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon into the flour. 
4. To the creamed sugar and veg fat add half of the liquid and combine. Mix through half of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining liquid and then the rest of the flour.

5. Divide mixture between the muffin holes and bake for 15-20 minutes.

6. Once baked, cool in the tin for 10 minutes then gently run a knife around each doughnut to help ease out of the tin. 
7. Dip in the melted butter, then the cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Mini Orange Cupcakes

Orange cake is my favourite. I looove a chunky slab of orange pound cake topped with a rich, silky orange egg yolk icing. For these cupcakes I wanted a light springy sponge and an icing that's quick and easy to make. I settled on orangey cream cheese icing. Oh and of course I had to make them mini! 

Mini Orange Cupcakes 
(makes about 30 - but remember they're only wee!)

100g unsalted butter
120g caster sugar (I used golden caster)
2 medium eggs
20g ground almonds

50g half fat crème fraîche
120g self raising flour
¼ tsp baking powder
zest of one orange
3 tbsp fresh orange juice
Orange Cream Cheese Icing:
75g unsalted butter
75g cream cheese
250g icing sugar
zest of one orange
2 tsp fresh orange juice
Sprinkles (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 170° (150° fan).
2. Mix butter and sugar until light and creamy, then stir in the orange zest.
3. Add eggs, crème fraîche and ground almonds. Mix thoroughly until combined.
4. Sift in the flour and baking powder, stir into the mixture. 
5. Finally mix in the orange juice. 
6. Spoon into mini cupcake cases and bake for 12 minutes on the middle shelf.
7. To make the icing beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. 
8. Add the icing sugar, zest and juice. Pipe or spread on your cupcakes.