Sunday, 26 September 2010

Cupcake Topped Cupcakes

Not 'real' cupcake topped cupcakes as you can see!

I saw some fondant cupcake shaped toppers recently on the Art of Being Perfect Blog.

I decided to have a go at making some pastel coloured ones.

I had bought these cupcake shaped cookie cutter from a cook shop in Harrogate this week. I couldn't resist the pastel colours!

I used some ready to roll fondant and tinted it to get the colours the right shade.
My green frosting was supposed to be a pastel shade too but I picked up the mint green one instead! Whoops!

They looked fine though!
I sent a box of cupcakes for my cousin as she has just secured a place to do her Masters!
Well done Tans!

Snickers Inspired Cupcakes

A while ago I saw a post on the Butter Hearts Sugar blog for Snickers inspired cupcakes.
Being a lover of the peanut butter and chocolate combination, I figured adding caramel into the mix could only be a bonus!
I went to buy my can of carnation milk to make my caramel but when I got to the supermarket, I saw that the clever people at Carnation had already done the hard work.
I took the easy option (although the good intentions to make my own caramel were there I assure you!)

I started with chocolate cupcakes.....

.....and then scooped out a bit from the middle and poured about two teaspoons of caramel in.

I then topped with peaut butter frosting and a chocolate covered peanut!

They were yummy!

I asked Mr G if they were too much with the caramel.
He shook his head and with a mouthful of cake he muffled a response that I couldn't quite decipher.
I took that as a no!!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The English Rose Bakery

A while ago, Beks sent me an e-mail telling me that there was a new company called "The English Rose Bakery" making macarons and supplying them to the Manchester area. (
We were most excited.
Whilst I was home this weekend, Mr G and I decided to check out Chorlton Food Market and who should have a stall but The English Rose Bakery!

This is Emma who makes the macarons!

She makes a whole range of flavours including Vanilla, Pistachio, Chocolate, Black Cherry, English Rose, Salted Caramel, Raspberry, and Lemon.

Obviously I had to buy a box!

They were absolutely AMAZING!
Now as someone who has a soft spot for Laduree macarons, I can honestly say these were some of the nicest macarons I have ever tasted. They were soft and chewy and what stood out was the flavour. You could smell each individual macaron flavour a mile off.
The salted caramel was absolutely to die for, and I even preferred it to the Laduree version!

Emma will be at various food markets across the North West and if you get the chance I would highly recommend you check out her stall!

Betty's - Yorkshire's Finest

No baking this week folks as I've been working away from home. I am working in a lovely place called Harrogate which is in North Yorkshire. It is about 1 1 /2 hours away from Manchester so I've been staying there during the week. Have been missing Mr G like mad but luckily I have Betty's to keep me going! Betty's is a lovely tea room and there are branches all over Yorkshire but the first one opened in Harrogate in 1919.

They also have a shop selling a wide variety of breads, cakes and chocolates.
Including these macarons in Chocolate, Lemon, Pistachio and Raspberry.

They have a good range of pattiserie such as their famous puff pastry cream hearts...

....and the fabulous Engadine Torte which is a Swiss specialty with hazelnuts and meringue. Definitely my favourite.

They also do a Yorkshire Curd Tart which is a little bit like a dense cheesecake with raisins.

I also managed to explore Harrogate's only Cupcakery...

Cupcakes by Charley!
They have a good selection of cupcakes and also sell whoopie pies.

Alas, there were no peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes.

But they had a lovely Cookies and Cream cupcake.
The cake was really rich and decadent.

I also tried a Vanilla Whoopie Pie that was sandwiched with a strawberry buttercream.
As you can see it was huge and I was a little bit disappointed. The consistency was more like a Victoria Sponge expecially with the addition of the strawberry infused buttercream.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Brownies

Do you ever have a craving for a baked treat but simply cannot be bothered with measuring out numerous ingredients?
If so, then this is the recipe for you!
These are without a doubt my signature brownies.
Now I am not a total baking snob. Although I don't use cake mixes as a general rule, I am rather partial to a Betty Crocker brownie. I love the fact that you only add three ingredients to the mix and one of those (the egg) you don't even have to measure.
I devised this recipe one day when I had a craving for chocolate and peanut butter.
Simply pour the batter into a lined tray.
Mix two generous tablespoons of cream cheese with two generous tablespoons of smooth peanut butter.
Swirl the mixture together and then add dollops to the brownie batter.
You could at this point swirl the peanut butter / cream cheese mixture into the brownie, but I prefer biting into a big chunk of the mixture.
Wait for the brownies to cool slightly before slicing up......

.....and serving still warm!


Saturday, 11 September 2010

Mini Pink Cupcakes

One of my friends was home this weekend to celebrate the festival of Eid with her family.

I decided to make her some mini cupcakes to help her celebrate!

Mini Cupcake cases are so cute!
I decided on vanilla cupcakes and then added a touch of pink gel food colouring to make the cupcakes themselves pink.

Just out of the oven. They took hardly anytime to cool down!

Once they had cooled, I added some pink vanilla frosting and then topped them with pink m&ms and pink chocolate hearts.

I noticed the other day that Sainsbury's had started selling cupcake boxes.
They were quite expensive - 2 for £1.75 but they were cute so I couldn't resist buying a couple.
I normally buy my cupcake boxes online from Cupcake Boxes UK (
They are really reasonable and have a great variety of sizes and designs.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Home Made Pretzels

When I was in London the other week, I visted Westfield Shopping Centre. Amidst the various snack stands was a pretzel stall selling the tastiest freshly baked pretzels. I had a cinnamon sugar pretzel which was delish.
I had wanted to have a go at making them myself and had recently seen a post on the Butter Hearts Sugar blog ( This is a lovely blog and the recipe seemed really straight forward.
My pretzel shaping skills need improving though!

Just fresh out of the oven!
The smell was irresistable!
I sprinkled some of the pretzels with sea salt.

I also made some cinnamon sugar for coating.
You just mix a few tablespoons of sugar with a couple of teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

I brushed the freshly baked pretzels with some melted butter and then dipped them in the cinnamon sugar.
Mr G and I ate the whole lot within a couple of hours! Definitely a recipe I will be trying again. The possibilities are endless.....maple coated, chocolate dipped, rosemary and sea salt.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Cutest Cake Stand Ever!

I am definitely one of those people who is a sucker for anything in miniature form.

When I saw this teeny tiny cake stand - I just could not resist.

Plus the packaging was super cute too.

It is only big enough to hold one cupcake. Perfect for those moments when you are treating yourself to a cupcake after a hard day. (Especially if there is no-one else in the house so you don't have to share...)

I made some Red Velvet cupcakes just so I could try out the cake stand!
The cake stands are made by Rosanna and are part of the 'Petite Treat' range. They are also available in cream and green.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Mr. Potato Head Cake Pops

I hadn't made cake pops for quite a while and after making some red velvet cupcakes, I decided to make some red velvet cake balls. I had seen these Mr Potato Head pops on the Bakerella website.
Hats off to Bakerella big time. I do not know how she gets her cake pops to look so smooth.
Making the pops themselves is not so hard.
You start off by crumbling any cake that you have made.

Add a good dose of cream cheese frosting.

Mix well until fully combined and shape into balls.
I used some peanut butter flavoured candy melts as it was the perfect colour.

You will also need an assortment of sprinkles and mini chocolate buttons....

And voila!
Mr. Potato Head!
I was quite pleased with how they turned out but I wish I could get the coating to go on a lot more smoothly.
Must keep practising!