Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Pretty Little Liars (PLL) Sugar Biscuits - Season 6 Finale

I genuinely cannot express how excited I am for the Pretty Little Liars mid season finale next week (August 11th), and I'm sure quite a few of you are buzzing like I am for it! So in honour of finally finding out who the illusive A is, I decided that there was no better way than baking some sugar cookies and decorating them PLL style with quotes and symbols of the programme.  

On to the recipe:
Ingredients -
Sugar Biscuits -
250g butter or margarine
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
500g plain flour (more or less depending on the consistency)
circular cookie cutters
baking tray
parchment paper
Icing (the best royal icing!)
1.5 oz warm water
1.25 tablespoons meringue powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
225g icing sugar (powdered sugar for the Americans reading)
piping bag
Black, blue and red icing sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5
2. Line 4 baking trays with greaseproof paper and butter
3. In a large bowl cream the butter and caster sugar until smooth
4. Combine the yolk and vanilla and add to the butter mixture
5. Sift in the plain flour and combine until the mixture is not sicky and can easily be rolled (if you haven't enough flour you could put the dough in the freezer or fridge to harden)
6. Flour the work surface and roll the mixture around 1/2 cm thick
7. Cut out the biscuits in a variety of circular shapes and place in the fridge for 30 minutes
8. Take out of the fridge and place in the oven for 10 minutes (remove one firm and slightly golden)
9. Leave to cool and make the icing
10. Combine the meringue powder and water and whisk for 30 seconds
11. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds
12. Add the icing sugar and whisk for 10 minutes
13. Seperate evenly into three bowls and colour one red, one navy (combine blue and black) and leave one white - these should be fairly thick
14. With the navy icing, pipe a circle around the outside of the circles
15. Now add around 2 tsp of warm water to the icing to create a watery paste, smooth this inside the circle (which prevents it from spill outside the edges) and leave in the fridge until set (around 5 minutes)
16. Now using the red and white colours you can pipe whatever quotes you'd like related to the show! My favourites were 'That's immortality my darlings' 'Welcome to the dolls house' '-A' ' I'm still here bitches, and I know everything' 'Friends share secrets, that's what keeps us close' 'You may be a dude, but you're still a bitch'. 

So there you have it, special PLL biscuits to celebrate all the questions we've had about the show finally being revealed! I'd love to know your theories about who A is, why he/she had been tormenting the girls and who killed Toby's mum! I hope you enjoy the finale on August 11th Xxx

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Raspberry and Mint Cream Shortbread Slice

I've always loved the combination of mint and raspberry but have never come up with a recipe uses both to compliment each other! This shortbread slice is refreshingly different and the mint Chantilly cream gives it an unusual delicious flavour. Perfect for the summer, I can't wait to share this recipe with you all! 

On to the recipe: 
Ingredients - 
300g plain flour
200g unsalted butter (or margarine) 
100g caster sugar
150g double cream 
20g icing sugar
Bunch of mint leaves (to taste) 

-Preheat the oven to 185C/ Gas Mark 5
1. Cut the butter into cubes
2. Place butter into the plain flour and rub until fine breadcrumbs form
3. Add the sugar and combine
4. Work gently until a smooth dough forms (do not over handle) 
5.  Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes
6. Roll onto greased baking parchment (1/2 cm thick) and carefully transfer the baking parchment and dough on to a baking tray
7. Bake for around 15 minutes or until golden brown - once removed from the oven cut the shortbread into rectangular shapes about 2cm by 5cm. And once cool carefully remove and place on to a cooling wire.  
8. Whilst cooling make the mint cream 
9. Whisk the double cream (preferably with a hand whisk unless you'd like the gain some serious arm muscles) until it thickens (thick enough so it doesn't fall off a spoon) 
10. Finely chop the mint and add to the cream with the icing sugar (adding more or less mint depending on the intensity of the flavour) 
11. Place the cream into a piping bag
12. Pipe rows of the cream to fill half of one of the shortbread slices
13. Next to the cream fill the rest of the shortbread with raspberries
14. Place a plain shortbread on top
15. Decorate with a sprig of mint and a raspberry 

There you have it, a raspberry and mint cream shortbread slice - Enjoy xxx

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Pink Cherry Rose Cake with Buttercream Icing

There's no hiding the fact that I love buttercream icing, I will eat it in cakes, off spatulas, off mixing bowls, so I thought instead of using fondant icing to make roses like I normally do, I'd try something different and made a buttercream rose on the top of my the cake! Trust me, you do not know how difficult it was to make my family wait and resist the urge to eat a slice whilst I took pictures of it, they were like hungry lions. However, I'm sure they'll say it was worth the agonizing wait. 

On to the recipe:
Equipment needed -
x2 8" round cake tins
104 wilton piping nozzle
Piping bags
Cake turn table (a plate on top of a microwave roller wheel base will do too)

225g caster sugar
225g butter (or margarine)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Icing: (you'll need quite a bit to crumb coat the cake and decorate it too)
500g icing sugar
200g butter
red food colouring
cherry flavouring (linked here)
edible pink glitter (optional)

- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4
1. Cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes until pale and smooth
2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, one egg at a time gently until they are combined
3. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in carefully, making sure you keep in the air
4. Place the mixture into lined two round lined tins (with butter and parchment paper) evenly
5. Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown
6. Whilst the sponges are cooling get started on the icing

7. Beat together the icing sugar,butter and cherry flavouring for 5 minutes until extremely pale and smooth
8. Place evenly into three bowls (leaving about 1/4 to fill the centre of the cake) 
9. Add the red food colouring into each bowls - one dark pink, one baby pink, one pale pink 
10. Add into three piping bags with a wilton 104 nozzle (preferably) 
11. Use the left over icing to sandwich the two cakes together
12. Now on to the rose, starting in the middle of the cake, using the darkest shade, place the largest part of the nozzle closest to the cake in a vertical upwards line.
- I found an incredible video showing the easy steps in creating the buttercream rose as it would be easier to watch it then read how to do so. Please find the instructions here - link


There you have it, a gorgeous and delicious, cherry rose cake! - Enjoy xx

Sunday, 12 July 2015

No Bake Healthy Fruit, Oat and Seed Bars

In this weather it's hard to consume anything other than ice cream, sweetened iced coffee, pies and pina coladas but I have developed a recipe which is healthy, delicious and a perfect alternative to the summer foods we find so hard to resist.  

On to the recipe: 
There's no exact measurements for these bar which gives you the freedom to add exactly what you want or have to hand at home 
The basis is - 
1 cup dates (pitted) 
1 cup dried fruit 
1 cup of nuts/seeds
3 tbsp agave nectar (optional) 
I used sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cashew nuts, walnuts, and dried pineapple with the dates. So as long as you follow the 1:1:1 ratio the mixture will be great. 

1. Add the pitted dates into an electric mixer until they break down into a paste
2. Add it to the other ingredients and agave nectar until it forms a cohesive ball
3. Line a baking tray or tin (preferable 8" tin) with butter and parchment paper
4. Pack tightly with a wooden spoon all the mixture into the tin until it is full and smooth over the top
5. Refrigerate over night until the mixture is hard
6. Remove from the tin and cut with a sharp knife into rectangles. 


There you have it, versatile, healthy, simple energy bars packed with nutritional goodness! Enjoy xxx

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Beach Season: Vanilla Cupcake with Mint Buttercream Icing and a Royal Icing Anchor

The season of summer is finally here, and has abruptly hit the UK with heats of 30C! So whilst we're all gulping ice cold water, sitting in paddling pools, being surrounded by fans and wearing nothing but our underwear as we hoover the house, I decided to bake a summer inspired cupcake. When I think of the summer, I imagine clear blue skies, beaches and the ocean - so here are anchor cupcakes with mint icing! 
The anchor on top was made from royal icing (egg whites, icing sugar and water) and I will try and put up a post on a demonstration on how I made them soon, but in the mean time I'm sure you'll be able to purchase something similar online.

On to the recipe:
Vanilla Cupcakes
125g butter (softened, but in this heat i'm sure it'll already be practically melted)
125g caster sugar
2 large beaten eggs
125g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mint Buttercream Icing
300g icing sugar
150g butter
1 tsp blue food colouring (preferably gel as it doesn't alter the consistency)
1 tsp mint extract flavouring (be sparing with this as it could be overpowering)

1. Cream together the butter and sugar for 3 minutes until pale and smooth
2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, one egg at a time gently until they are combined
3. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in carefully, making sure you keep in the air
4. Place the mixture into lined cupcake tins (about one spoon full, 3/4 of the case full)
5. Place in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown
6. Whilst the cupcakes are cooling get started on the icing
7. Sift the icing sugar and combine with the butter until pale and smooth
8. Add the food colouring and flavouring until you get a mint green colour and subtle mint flavour (think the intensity of an after eight)
9. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle pipe the icing in a circle motion on top of the cupcake, blue glitter is opional (but when is it not a good idea to use an excessive amount of glitter)
10. Place the anchor on top!

There you have it, vanilla cupcake with mint buttercream icing and a royal icing anchor. Hope you have a lovely time in the heat, whether it be in an air conditioned room or lying on the beach!
Enjoy xxx 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Chocolate and Chilli Flake Cake with Buttercream

I'm not saying that chilli is everyone's favourite flavour, it's sort of like the great divide of people who order lemon and herb at Nandos and those who order medium - hot. But whether you like chilli or not, this recipe will be a winner for everyone. You shan't be running to a tap or grabbing a glass of milk after eating a slice; the chilli adds a gentle heat which balances well with the creamy chocolate! 

On to the recipe:
Ingredients - 
200g brown sugar 
200g butter (softened) 
4 eggs
150g self raising flour
50g sieved dark cocoa powder (preferably not drinking chocolate) 
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp milk (if consistency needs altering) 
x2 8" round tins
Icing - 
300g icing sugar
100g cocoa powder
200g butter
1tsp chilli flakes (these chilli flakes were of a medium heat so adjust the amount according to how hot yours are and how much heat you can tolerate) 

!!! Pre - heat oven to gas mark 5/190C!!!
1. Cream together the sugar and butter in a large bowl until smooth (ideally with a electric whisk but if you want to use your muscles and get a work out - a wooden spoon will do the job too)
2. Mix in your eggs one at a time 
3. In a seperate bowl combine the baking powder, flour and cocoa powder
4. Sieve half of the dry mixture into the sugar/butter/egg mix
5. Fold in until the mixture is smooth
6. Add the other half of the flour mix and fold in until it is combined and smooth
7. At this point if the mixture is too thick and does not fall from the spoon add a dash of milk to loosen it. 
8. Place into the two tins (normally used for Victoria sponges) and place in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake has began coming away from the sides of the tin. 
9. Place onto a cooling rack and and cool completely before assembling. 
10. On to the icing, combine all ingredients into a large bowl (make sure you sieve the icing sugar and cocoa powder) and beat for 5 minutes into it is a smooth pliable paste but not too runny. 
11. Place the icing in the centre between both cakes with a palate knife and on top of the cake. 
12. Sprinkle a few chilli flakes on top for decoration

There you have it, sweet and spicy, chilli and chocolate cake!
Enjoy xx