6 Valentine’s Day Recipe Ideas

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Vanilla and Passionfruit Cheesecake by Simon Hulstone

1. Passion? You said it with this vanilla and passionfruit cheesecake from chef Simon Hulstone. Passionfruit puree can be bought from Amazon and you can buy fine leaf gelatine leaves from Tesco. Not sure whether these will be bronzed though!

Poiresauchocolat

Dark Muscovado Truffles By Poires Au Chocolat

2. Or how about making some delicious dark chocolate truffles for your loved one? Much more thoughtful than bought choccies. I recently reviewed these Paul A Young dark muscovado truffles which were easy to make and yum! Poires Au Chocolat made some lush ones pictured here.

3. Take your other half to a Valentines afternoon tea – why not? I recently sipped hot chocolate downstairs from Rabot, a cacao restaurant in Borough Market in London and their afternoon tea menu caught my eye. Think cacao-infused drinks, brownies, banana bread and gin-cured smoked salmon sandwiches.

4. Concoct a raspberry courting cake – inspired from my Lancashire roots, the mascarpone icing tastes amazing.

5. Bake some love bug cookies – these look very cute and bright – perfect to cheer up your partner on a wintry February day! Ready to roll red icing can be bought from supermarkets and you’ll also need some 8cm and 6cm heart cutters (you can get a set from Lakeland).

6. And if baking eludes you then make your partner a Valentine-inspired cocktail. Rasmopolitan or Raspberry Chocolate Kiss Martini gets my vote!

For more inspiration you can read my previous year’s baking ideas. What will you be baking this Valentine’s?

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Baking Bonanza!

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This weekend has been full of baking, decorating and eating cupcakes! I made these Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting for my best friend’s birthday yesterday. They went down a treat! I can definitely recommend using Green and Black’s cocoa powder and the decorations were from Just Bake and I also received the other sugar flowers in my Christmas stocking. A few people have asked me where I get the boxes from – you can buy them online from Cakes, Cookies and Crafts.

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Since I had made a double quantity of chocolate frosting for 20 cupcakes (I doubled the sponge recipe) I still had some left so tonight I russled up some more vanilla cupcakes. This time they’re for Easter and I’ve used Smarties eggs. The one in the middle is for a colleague who has given up chocolate for Lent. I used caramel dipping sauce from Waitrose – it’s a bit like dulce de leche and tastes delicious. Last weekend I baked some shortbreads from the Great British Book of Baking and it tastes fab to add a dollop of caramel to those! If you’re wondering how I’m not the size of a house making these cupcakes, I made it to my first spin class tonight in eight years. I think the endorphin kick spurred me into baking again tonight!

Valentine Baking Ideas

Cupcake heartsWith only two weeks to go, it’s time to bring some inspiration to Valentine Baking and purchase some cool baking decorations or cupcake cases before it’s too late! Here is my top 10 list of Valentine Baking Ideas:

1. Make some delicious chocolate cupcakes (aka Hummingbird Bakery) and wrap them in these decadent red cupcake wrappers. Then sprinkle with cupcake decorations like these ones from Just Bake. You can view their full Valentine range here.

Red heart cupcake wrappers_Just Bake2. If you don’t think you can bake then this really is laid on a plate for you. Heart shaped cutter, cookie mix and Emma Bridgewater gift bag from John Lewis – no excuses boys!

3. From today, Peggy Porschen’s Valentine cupcakes are available to buy and feature a heart or a luscious pair of lips, for £3.50 each.

4. Or how about doing a Valentine Baking course together which Primrose Bakery are hosting on Sunday 17th Feb?

heart shaped macaron from Vera's Cookbook blog5. If anyone made these heart shaped macarons for me then I’d be pretty bowled over. Here’s a video to guide you through how to make them from Vera’s Cookbook blog. Macarons are notoriously hard to make but I think even if you managed to produce 3 perfect ones that would be impressive and show your appreciation for someone!

6. Or you could make heart shaped cupcakes with these silicone cases from Lakeland

7. I also liked the look of these jam filled heart shaped butter biscuits from BBC Good Food and you can buy the cutters here

red velvet cupcakes photographed by Kimothy Joyeates8. How about baking something in these mini heart shaped ramekins from Le Creuset?

9. If you prefer to bake with cups then this is a useful double chocolate heart shaped cake recipe covered in raspberries and you can buy heart shaped pans from Cakes Cookies and Crafts (BTW they’ve got an updated website since I last went on there – looks good!)

10. And finally…a red velvet cake…here’s a US recipe from SomethingSwanky or try the cupcakes recipe from Hummingbird High. To read my 2015 Valentine Baking Ideas, you can find them here.

Christmas Cake Decorations and Cupcake Cases

On Saturday I will be baking cupcakes for a colleague as she won a charity auction and bid for a set of my cupcakes. It was all in aid of ByteNight – the IT industry’s sleep out night in aid of Action for Children. I want to make some cupcakes with a festive theme and  have been doing lots of research on fun Christmas cake and cupcake decorations and cupcake cases so I thought I would share these with you. Look out for my post on Christmas cupcakes at the weekend!

  1. Mini snowflakes
  2. Red and green Christmas tree sprinkles
  3. Cute snowmen
  4. Holly and berry sprinkles
  5. Edible green Christmas tree glitter
  6. Stockings, Candy Canes and Mittens Cupcake Toppers
  7. Let it snow cupcake cases
  8. Snowmen cupcake cases
  9. Reindeer and Santa cupcake cases
  10. Christmas Cupcake kit

Christmas Cake Moulds & Cookie Cutters

Christmas cookie cutterTo get in to the Christmas spirit, I thought I’d do a quick run down of festive cake moulds and cookie cutters. Marks and Spencer have a good range including this Christmas Tree mould which I featured last year, star cupcake cases and Christmas cookie cutters.

If you fancy a Christmas tree made out of cookies, this 3D cookie set could be the thing for you. I know these aren’t cutters or moulds but I also love these snowflake decorations. I’m putting these on my baking list right away! Lakeland also have a fun snowflake cookie cutter set featured below.

Snowflake cookie cutter setCakes, Cookies and Crafts have a full range of Christmas cookie cutters and they also have a  Santa cake tin.

If you want to try your hand at chocolate making, then these chocolate Christmas wreath moulds are a bit different. And OK, these aren’t moulds, but I do love these Santa mini muffin cases from the Funky Muffin shop.

KitchenAid Artisan Cake Mixer

KitchenAid mixer

For my birthday my boyfriend surprised me with the mother of all presents – a cream KitchenAid Artisan Cake Mixer. I had lusted after one in a nearby department store but told him it was way too expensive. He knew I loved it though and so he was really generous and gave it to me as an early birthday present on Wednesday! As you can see, the mixer had quite an entrance, standing between a sea of pink, cream and pearlised balloons.

The mixer is SO sleak and trendy and looks really swish on the kitchen work top. We had Chinese takeaway so I could get to the baking straight away and in no time at all I had whipped up a lemon drizzle cake. I couldn’t believe how quick it was to make in the mixer and I didn’t even read the instructions; the mixer is very easy to use. I took the cake into work as it is tradition to bring in cakes on or near your birthday. My colleagues said the cake was light and fluffy and was a great hit! Apparently, the deal with the mixer is I have to make cakes every week so hopefully I’ll be posting a lot more from now on! Whilst I was out at my birthday afternoon tea yesterday (another post to come!) my boyfriend also used the cake mixer and baked me a lovely red velvet birthday cake from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook with lashings of icing. I couldn’t believe he had made me a cake and I was bowled over!!

Lemon drizzle cake and KitchenAid artisan mixer

Wedding cake – the Cake Partnership

Wedding fruit cake made by the Cake Partnership

I recently went to my friend’s wedding in St Andrews and managed to get a few snaps of the gorgeous wedding cake. It was a lovely fruit cake (there was also choc sponge but I didn’t manage to get a piece of that as well). The cake was made by the Cake Partnership in Edinburgh –  a mother and daughter duo – Lillian and Emma. My friend said she fell in love with the cake the second she saw it – I can understand why!

Pip Studio Cake Plate

Raspberry courting cake close up on Pip Studio plate

This is one of my most prized cake possessions – the Pip Studio cake plate. I saw it in a little gift shop in Edinburgh last year but didn’t buy it straight away as it was a bit of an extravagance. I decided I had to go back to the shop to get it, and almost missed the train home with my friend! She is used to my being very late for things! I’ve used the cake plate before but never been able to get a good photo of it. I made birthday cupcakes and displayed them on the plate last year but before I could get my camera, all the cakes had gone! Here, I made raspberry courting cake – the perfect summer treat – for my boyfriend’s parents. The good news is it went down well and seconds were requested! After much searching as it is sold out across most outlets, I found you can still buy it on the Selfridges website. Yay!

whole raspberry courting cake on Pip Studio cake plate

Yumbots – robot cupcakes!

My boyfriend spotted these when they first came out in America but it’s only recently they’ve become available in the UK. I spotted mine in the sale at Oliver Bonas (currently out of stock) but you can buy them from Play.com but they’re cheaper on Find me a Gift. In the box, you get four ‘yumbots’ – robot cupcakes moulds made out of silicone. They’re dishwasher safe, they swizzle their heads, and look super cool. What more could you want? Just be careful when taking them in and out of the oven as I found one of the yumbots came loose during the baking stage.  I filled them with vanilla sponge cupcake mix and then piped vanilla buttercream icing on their heads.  Perfect for a cake treat for your man or kids! Yum-bots!

Vanilla Birthday Cake shower gel

I caught up with a friend last night and we exchanged belated birthday presents! Although this was 9 months later than my birthday it was well worth waiting for as it’s shampoo, shower gel and bath creme all in one – and it smells deliciously sweet of vanilla sponge cake! You can buy it from John Lewis and there are other great smells from Philosophy such as raspberry sorbet and melon daiquiri!

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