Well I didn’t think I’d be writing a Valentine’s post but Zoe is very excited about it, she made a card for me and her dad in school and is mesmerised by anything heart-shaped. She doesn’t think of Valentine’s as a day of romance but a day to celebrate love and I like that!
Chocolate Butterfly Cakes
So, Zoe decided she’d like to bake butterfly cakes for us and I’m sharing the recipe with you guys as it would be a nice treat for the ones you love today. The ingredients are from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible but the method is different.
- 100g Butter cut into cubes
- 100g Caster Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 100g Self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
- 3 Tablespoons of Hot Water
- 175g Butter cut into cubes
- 350g Icing Sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric hand-mixer until soft, gradually add the sugar beating constantly. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork, gradually add the eggs to the mixture whilst beating with the electric hand-mixer. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir in until the flour has been incorporated into the wet mixture, then beat until smooth.
Fill a 12 bun tray with fairy cake cases and fill each one with the mixture. place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the cup cakes on a wire rack to cool.
Add the cocoa powder to the hot water and stir, then leave to cool slightly. In another bowl beat the butter with an electric hand-mixer until soft, sift in the icing sugar and stir, add the cocoa mixture and beat all together until a smooth paste has been formed. Cut the tops off the cupcakes and pipe the icing onto them, cut each top in half and place back onto the cake in a butterfly shape. Zoe also made cupcakes covered in chocolate icing and topped them with some chocolate hearts that we saw in the supermarket today and I thought they looked very appropriate for Valentine’s.
This recipe is quick and it is an easy cake to make, the only caveat is that you need to have a swiss roll tin to bake it but you can find them in most local supermarkets. The sponge recipe is from Rachel Allen’s Cake book.
Strawberry Swiss Roll
- Butter, melted, for greasing
- 4 eggs
- 125g Caster Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Warm Water
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
- 125g Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
- Some Icing Sugar for dusting
- 4 Tablespoons Strawberry Jam
You will also need a 25 x 38cm Swiss roll tin.
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line the base of the swiss roll tin with baking parchment, brush the base and sides of the tin with melted butter and dust with flour.
Using a hand-held electric mixer, whisk together the eggs, caster sugar, water and vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and fold into the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared swiss roll tin and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the centre of the sponge is slightly springy to the touch.
Take a piece of baking parchment slightly larger in size then the tin and spread out onto a worksurface. Sprinkle the paper with caster sugar, this will stop the cake from sticking to the paper. Quickly flip the Swiss roll tin over onto the sugared paper and carefully remove the tin and parchment from the bottom of the cake.
Place a clean slightly damp tea towel over the cake when it is cooling, this will prevent drying out and cracking when you roll it up. Personally I never have the patience to wait until it is completely cool, nobody minds a few cracks in the sponge when they’re hungry!
When the cake is cool spoon the strawberry jam onto the cake and spread evenly. Roll up the swiss roll away from you and carefully transfer to a serving plate.
Sift some icing sugar on top for decoration.
Zoe adding the finishing touches to our swiss roll
My husband asked me to make him an ice-cream cake for his birthday, no sponge just ice-cream! It is probably the easiest cake I have ever made but it felt wrong not baking anything!
Ice Cream Birthday Cake
- 2 Litres Vanilla Ice-Cream
- Chocolate Buttons
- Milky Bar Discs
- Hundreds & Thousands
Take the ice-cream out of the freezer to let it soften. Get a 21cm Cake tin and line it with cling film with extra dropping over the edges.
When the ice-cream has softened, spoon it into the lined cake tin pushing down to ensure it fills the tin completely.
Cover completely with cling film and place back in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
Take the ice-cream cake out of the freezer, remove the cling film lid and turn it upside down onto a cake board or plate, then remove the rest of the cling film.
Now the Fun bit! Decorating.
Put the decorating ingredients into separate bowls and tell your child to have fun!
You can either serve immediately or put it back in the freezer, the smarties colouring seeps into the cake to make a cool tie died look.
If you are thinking of making a Christmas present for your child’s teacher, I have a suggestion: Good Apple Fairy Cakes.
Apple Fairy Cakes for Teacher
They are very easy to make.
1st make the Vanilla Fairy Cakes from my previous post up to and including icing them.
You will need:
- Red Sugar Paste
- Brown Sugar Paste
- Edible Gold Glitter Stars.
- Edible Glue
You can find the sugar paste in most supermarkets, they are sold in small packs of 250g
The edible glitter I bought in a baking accessory shop, if you don’t have it, you can substitute with hundreds and thousands.
Take a chunk of red sugar paste and roll it into a ball about 3cm in diameter, using a narrow instrument like a bulbulous cone modelling tool or the end of a thin utensil handle, make a small dent in the top of the ball to shape it like an apple.
Repeat for the amount of cakes you are making.
Sugar Paste Apples
Next, the apple stalk. Take the brown sugar paste (usually chocolate flavoured so it smells lovely.) pinch a small amount and roll it into a worm shape, then cut into pieces 1cm in length, bend each piece slightly. Using a clean brush, place a small amount of edible glue in the well at the top of each apple and add the stalk.
Sprinkle the gold stars over the top of the cakes and voilà! You’re done!
An Apple for Teacher
Now this is a great cake to make for very special occasions, it is originally suggested as an Anniversary Cake by Rachel Allen but when I last made it, it was for Easter and with a little imagination you could decorate it to suit more of a Christmas theme.
White Chocolate Ganache Cake
- butter, softened, for greasing
- 4 eggs
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
- 1.50 teaspoon baking powder
- 50 g white chocolate, as chips or chopped into pieces
- Chocolate Flakes and Cadbury’s Mini Eggs to decorate
For the Ganache:
- 300 ml double or regular cream
- 400 g white chocolate, in drops or broken into pieces
- 75 g butter, softened and cut into 2cm cubes
First make the ganache. Place the cream in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then immediately remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate.
Stir to melt the chocolate – you may need to place it back over a low heat, just so all the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until tepid.
Add the butter to the melted chocolate, a few cubes at a time, beating the mixture until all the butter has been incorporated. Leave in the fridge for about 2 hours, stirring a couple of times as it cools. It should stiffen but still be spreadable.
Make sure to take the ganache out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before icing the cake. It may be necessary to beat the mixture with a wooden spoon to make it spread more easily.
While the ganache is cooling, you can make the cakes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter the sides of the cake tins and dust with flour, then line each base with a disc of baking parchment.
Using an electric food mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together on a high speed for several minutes or until light and mousse-like.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and chocolate pieces, then fold into the egg and sugar mixture. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden on top and lightly springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then loosen around the edges using a small, sharp knife. Carefully remove each cake before transferring to a wire rack to cool down fully.
When the cakes are cool, place one upside down on a cake plate or stand, then spread over some of the ganache to about 4–5mm thick.
Place the second cake on top the right way up and use the rest of the ganache to cover the cake completely. Using a palette knife or the back of a spoon, lightly flick the ganache to make peaks all over the cake.
You can decorate the cake to suit whatever theme you have in mind, for the Easter theme I used Cadbury’s flakes shaped into a nest and added 3 mini-eggs. I also lined the bottom of the cake with mini eggs.
One of the more unusual cakes I have ever made is a birthday cake for my Nana. I asked her what cake she would like and she replied that she would love an apple tart (Easy Peasy I thought) with meringue on top! (Erm… not so easy) and if a cake like that appeals to you, this recipe is a must.
Apple Meringue Cake
First Step is to make the Apple Cake, the recipe for that is here: Make sure that the apple crumble cake is ready and cooled before you make the meringue icing.
- 4 large egg whites
- 250 g caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
It is also preferable that you have a piping bag with a 4 or 5 mm star shaped nozzle
Place all the ingredients in a heat proof bowl, add 2 tablespoons of cold water and set over a saucepan of simmering water.
Whisk slowly, using a balloon whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is foamy. Continue to heat and whisk until the mixture reaches 60°C when measured with a sugar thermometer – this will take about 4 minutes.
Quickly remove the bowl from the pan and pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric food mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a high-speed for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the frosting is very thick, glossy and has cooled.
Pour the icing into a piping bag and pipe over the cake in swirling motions.
I warmed the cake up in the oven before serving.
Nana’s Apple Meringue Birthday Cake
This is definitely one to do with the kids. Zoe absolutely loves helping to make these and having total control over the decoration! The recipe for the vanilla sponge is from Rachel Allen’s Food for living with a simple white icing topping.
Zoe, so proud of her work she photo bombed this pic lol
- 75ml milk
- 25g butter
- 75g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 125 g caster sugar
For the Icing
- 200g Icing sugar (sifted)
- Boiled water
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place cupcake cases in a bun tray. The mixture is intended to make 12 cup cakes but I make 24 smaller fairy cakes so there are more to decorate! So if you are planning to the same as me, you will need 2 bun trays.
Heat the milk in a saucepan until it almost comes to the boil, take it off the heat, add the butter and stir until it has melted in the milk. Set aside.
Sift the flour and the baking powder, add the salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla bean paste with an electric hand mixer until it is light and fluffy, about 10mins. (It’s at this point that Zoe usually does some colouring while I mix) Gradually beat in the sugar until thick and moose like. Turn the speed down and blend in the flour then the milk. Stop beating as soon as it’s all mixed in.
Spoon into each paper case and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before moving to the wire rack and icing. Now spooning the mixture in with two spoons is fine but I got a batter pourer and haven’t looked back, makes buns very easy to pour indeed!
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, gradually add 4 table spoonfuls and beat with a spoon until the required texture. You may need to add more water a little at a time to get the right consistency. When ready pour on the cupcakes to cover .
Now for the fun bit:
Decorations! There are too many things to list on here to decorate but some of Zoe’s favourites are mini smarties, pink sparkles, edible flowers, multicoloured sprinkles. Let the little artists do there thing and see the pride in their little faces when they’re finished!
Decorated fairy cakes
Oh I am very fussy about my apple crumble, any type of apple cake really. The thought of biting into an apple pie and feeling a crunch *shudder*
So if you like smooth apple, a spongy base with a sweet crumble on top, this is the recipe for you.
I have adapted it from a recipe for a Ballymaloe mincemeat crumble cake in Rachel Allen’s Cake book.
Yummy Apple Crumble
100g butter softened, plus extra for greasing
100g soft light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons of milk
175g self-raising flour
3 cooking apples
Icing sugar for sprinkling
For the crumble topping:
100g self-raising flour sifted
75g caster sugar
75g butter chilled and cut into 1 cm cubes
You will also need a 22cm diameter, loose bottomed cake tin with 6cm sides.
Now to Bake:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter the side and base of the cake tin make sure that the base of the tin is upside down so there’s no lip and the cake can easily slide off when cooked.
To make the crumble topping:
Place the flour and the caster sugar in a bowl, then add the butter and use your fingertips to rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Kids love to help with this, lots of fun and messy hands!
To make the sponge:
Cream the butter until soft in an electric food mixer and add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl with the vanilla bean paste and milk until just mixed then gradually add them to the creamed butter mixture beating all the time. Place the mixture into a large bowl and sift in the flour and fold in gently to combine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin then using a table spoon evenly spread it over the base of the tin.
Wash and peel the apples. I like my apples to be soft with a smooth texture in my cakes so I like to grate the apples before putting it in the cake. I use an electric kitchen machine for this but if you don’t have one you could just cut the apple into thin slices. When your apples are prepared, place them evenly on top of the sponge mixture. Finally sprinkle the crumble topping on top, be sure to completely cover the apple and sponge mixture below.
Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, if you insert a skewer into the centre of the cake it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes then loosen around the edges using the dull side of a knife and removed the sides of the tin, transfer your cake onto a plate and dust with sifted icing sugar.
I can only eat this cake warm but there are many members of my family that don’t care about the temperature. It is also lovely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
Apple Crumble Cake
Well I had to start my blog with a firm family favourite and with Halloween around the corner it’s the perfect time to bake it too!
This recipe is taken from Edible Ireland
This recipe makes 2 loaves but if you only want to make one, simply half the ingredients, same cooking time though!
- 200g raisins
- 200g sultanas
- 200g currants
- 100g chopped dates
- 600ml hot, strong black tea
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 450g self-raising flour
- 400g soft light brown sugar
- 2 level teaspoons of mixed spice
I can never make just one loaf of this tea brack, it is way too popular with my family. One loaf stays with us and the other always makes its way down to my Dad who is its biggest fan.
Put the raisins, sultanas, currants and chopped dates into a very large mixing bowl. Pour the hot tea into the bowl and cover the bowl with a plate, leave overnight to soak.
Tea Soaked Fruit
Now to Bake
In the morning when you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line two 450 g (1 lb) loaf tins with parchment paper.
Add in the eggs, self-raising flour, soft light brown sugar and mixed spice to the fruit and tea mixture. Stir well until everything is just combined. (Because there is a large amount of ingredients in one bowl I recommend using an electric kitchen machine and dough hook to do this.) Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tins. Bake for about 90 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack, your house will smell divine all day!
The finished product. Can be stored in an air tight container.