Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Cupcakes are such a simple delight. This straightforward recipe is so cheap and easy to do. The best part is that cupcakes are delicious served either with a basic frosting or used as a base taste and jazzed up with extra flavours. Be as crazy as you like!

You Will Need

6oz/170g butter

6oz/170g caster sugar

3 eggs

6oz/170g self-raising flour

1 tsp vanilla essence (for vanilla)

1oz cocoa powder (for chocolate cupcakes)

Method

Beat the sugar and butter together until pale (I use a stand mixer however an electric hand whisk would also be suitable)

Add the eggs and whisk again (careful not to curdle the mix). Once you have a smooth mixture add the flour and vanilla essence or cocoa powder (whichever you’re using) and whisk again.

Place muffin cases into a muffin tin and spoon the mixture evenly between the cases.

Bake in the oven on Gas mark 5/190C for 10-15 minutes (or until springy and golden)

Allow to cool.

Decorate however you like and enjoy.

Other Ideas

Once your cupcakes are cooled, try filling the centre with your favourite jam. Simply cut a hole from the centre, fill with a tsp jam and replace the cut-out piece. Frost over the top and enjoy the flavours of the delicious filling.

These cupcakes are a great base for any flavour of frosting.

With vanilla cupcakes you might try lemon frosting with a curd filling or a white chocolate frosting with a raspberry jam filling.

For chocolate cupcakes you can add chocolate frosting. You can jazz it up even more with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a pretzel.

You may also wish to vary the cupcake flavour altogether. To make a Bakewell flavoured cupcake, substitute the vanilla flavouring for almond, fill with a cherry jam and decorate with white icing and a glace cherry.

Vanilla Fossil Biscuits

Vanilla Fossil Biscuits

These delicious biscuits are great for baking with children. They require few ingredients and are extremely easy to do. This recipe has been used in my family for generations. One of the great things about the simplicity of these is that you can vary your shape and design for any occasion.

You Will Need

200g Margarine

150g Caster sugar

400g Plain flour

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

Mix together the margarine and the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Rub in the flour until you have ‘breadcrumb’ texture.

Lightly whisk the eggs with the vanilla essence and add to the dry mixture. Mix together until you have a dough (the dough with be slightly sticky at first – or at least mine always is).

Tip the dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead. Roll the dough out to 1-2cm thickness.

Cut out whatever shapes you wish to use and place them onto a baking tray lined with parchment or baking paper. For a fossil effect, press small dinosaur and other toys into the biscuits to create prints in the dough.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 4/180c/160 fan for 15 minutes or until a pale golden brown colour.

Allow to cool and enjoy!

Other Ideas

If you don’t want to make fossil biscuits and instead chose to keep your pattern plain, here are a few ideas for you.

When not making fossil effect biscuits, we usually use icing made from icing sugar and water and top the biscuits with sprinkles.

You can add 100g of currents to the dry mix before adding the egg to make current biscuits.

You might want to try dipping the biscuits into chocolate for an even sweeter treat.

You could also experiment with different flavours in place of vanilla. For a zesty twist, try adding the rind of 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 tsp lemon essence.

Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark

This recipe is the epitome of fake baking. With very few ingredients, zero cooking time and a vast variety of flavours, this is everything a busy parent needs in order to trick their children into thinking they are baking, without doing any actual baking! An extra bonus with this delectable treat is that the end product is absolutely gorgeous. Perfect for a night-time naughty or an afternoon delight.

These quantities are for white chocolate and sprinkle bark and a mint chocolate bark. See the other ideas section at the bottom of the page for a variety of other flavours.

White Chocolate Sprinkle Bark

You will need:

4 100g bars white chocolate (I used the 30p bars from Morrisons simply because they were cheap, whether you choose to use branded or baking chocolate is a choice I will leave up to you)

Sprinkles of your choosing (for this recipe I used mermaid sprinkles)

Method

Break the chocolate into a large bowl and melt. I usually melt my chocolate in a heat proof dish over a pan of boiling water. You may choose to microwave your chocolate. If you do decide to microwave, I would recommend 30 seconds to start then stir and continue to microwave at 10 second intervals stirring in between and repeating until the chocolate is smooth.

Pour the melted chocolate onto a sheet of parchment or baking paper and spread evenly until you have a thick layer of chocolate.

Add your sprinkles

Allow to cool slightly and then leave in the fridge until set.

Once all the chocolate has set, roughly chop into shards.

Mint Chocolate Bark

You will need:

4 100g bars of milk chocolate (as before, I use the cheap stuff, you can use whichever brand or make of chocolate you prefer)

½ tsp peppermint extract

1 pack mint aero bubbles (a bar of mint aero of other variety of mint bubble chocolate will also work)

1 pack after eight minis

Method

Break the chocolate into a large bowl and melt. I usually melt my chocolate in a heat proof dish over a pan of boiling water. You may choose to microwave your chocolate. If you do decide to microwave, I would recommend 30 seconds to start then stir and continue to microwave at 10 second intervals stirring in between and repeating until the chocolate is smooth.

Once the chocolate has melted, add the peppermint extract and stir well.

Pour the melted mint chocolate onto a sheet of parchment or baking paper and spread evenly until you have a thick layer of chocolate.

Smash the aero bubbles until they are a mixture of small chunks and minty dust.

Sprinkle the smashed aero bubble chocolate over the melted chocolate, add as many after eight minis to the top as you want.

Allow to cool slightly and then leave in the fridge until set.

Once all the chocolate has set, roughly chop into shards.

Other Ideas

So. Many. Options!

You can literally top your bark with anything. The options are endless. Below are my top 5 ideas to vary your chocolate bark flavours.

  1. Salted Caramel: for this flavour I use milk chocolate and add small fudge chunks and crushed up pretzels. The salt and the sweet are a heavenly combination.
  2. White chocolate and strawberry mallow: for this I use white chocolate, chopped dried strawberries and mini marshmallows.
  3. Candy Cane: this is great for Christmas! It works well with white or milk chocolate. Add ½ tsp of peppermint to the chocolate after melting and top with crushed up candy canes. So yummy!
  4. Mini Eggs: for this I use a white chocolate and crushed up mini eggs. The pastel colours of the eggs and the white chocolate look really pretty together.
  5. Rainbow Bark: you can do this a couple of ways. Firstly, you could buy coloured chocolate, melt and swirl together to make a mix of colours and then sprinkle the top with skittles or smarties. Another way to do it if you don’t want to use coloured chocolate (it can be expensive), or if you can’t find it (where I live, you’ve more chance of finding rocking horse shit) is to use plain white chocolate and cover it with as many colourful sweets and sprinkles as you can find. You can either lay the sweets on top in rainbow colour order or you can bung them altogether and create a colourful feast for the eyes.

There are probably a million more variations, these are just my top 5. Let me know in the comments what flavours you decide to do.

Happy Faking!

Cinnamon Swirls

Cinnamon Swirls

These are a great as a weekend breakfast treat or as an addition to your morning cuppa. With only a few ingredients, they are really cheap to produce and so easy to make. An added bonus is that as they bake, they make your house smell AMAZING!

You Will Need

1 packet ready rolled puff pastry

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp Icing sugar

2-3 tsp water to mix

Method

Mix the soft brown sugar and cinnamon together.

Lay the sheet of pastry onto a flat surface lined with parchment paper.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix onto the pastry.

Roll up the pastry lengthways until you have a long sausage shape.

Cut the party into 2-3cm thick slices and lay each piece onto a lined baking tray.

Bake in the oven at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 10-15 minutes or until golden in colour.

Mix the icing sugar with the water until you have icing with a consistency that you can drizzle.

Once the pastries have cooled, drizzle with the icing and leave to set for 10 minutes.

Other Ideas

If cinnamon isn’t your thing, try substituting the cinnamon sugar for Nutella for a whole new flavour!