6 Valentine’s Day Recipe Ideas

http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/getmedia/929c383c-7b10-45fe-9744-797cfce5f368/Sh-passion-fruit-and-vanilla-cheesecake-website-featured/?width=420&height=270&ext=.jpg

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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Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake Challenge

Angel Cupcake_Naomi Longworth_compressed2To celebrate the third anniversary of Cake Takes the Biscuit, I decided to invent my own cupcake and enter the Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake Challenge to boot. I started researching my ideas for American home-style baking whilst on a recent trip to Australia. My American friend out there talked about her childhood memories of angel food cake, a super light fluffy cake made with egg whites. So I set upon creating Angel Cupcake – a light and fluffy vanilla sponge, reminiscent of angel food cake, with a lemon curd frosting to symbolise luscious Californian lemons and topped with a sprinkle of strawberries, one of America’s most important fruits.

After three nights of baking perfecting the sponge recipe, making lemon curd and trying out different backgrounds for the photograph, I finally managed to submit Angel Cupcake to the Hummingbird Bakery Cupcake Challenge with two mins to spare. Look out next week for the full list of ingredients and method so you can try out the recipe yourself! My colleagues and friends thought the cupcake was a hit because it was super light and the lemon curd frosting was delicious. So glad it was worth all the long hours of baking!

Angel Cupcake by Naomi Longworth

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.

Second anniversary of the Cake takes the biscuit blog

ImageTo mark the second anniversary of the Cake takes the biscuit blog, I decided it was time to give it a makeover. Having set out on a journey to tweak recipes and review cupcakes and cafes, my mission hasn’t changed, I’ve just added in a few extras like reviewing afternoon teas and photo stories with fantastic images from the likes of Jonathan Pollock. I have met some great people along the way writing the blog and I hope it continues!

My illustrator and designer friend Mary Kilvert very kindly offered to design my new logo and background. I hope you like them – I certainly do! I have also given the blog a fresh look with a new layout. Hopefully this is more appealing with the content categorised by theme. If you like Mary’s work, she will be exhibiting at the Country Living Magazine Spring Fair on stand M69 on 21-25 March. Mary will be launching her new Spring Lambs, woolly eggs and colourful sheep egg cups at the show. If you can’t catch her at the show, Mary’s lovely products can be found on her website.

Mary Kilvert, colourful sheep

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.

Ideas for Halloween Cupcakes!

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream - Halloween cupcakes

I have been thinking about Halloween for several weeks but I’ve been away for several weekends in October and just couldn’t get to the baking until this weekend. I opted for some simple choc cupcakes as I was limited on time.  Waitrose had a good selection of spooky products although you needed to get in early as I arrived when there were no more orange and black sparkles and various other baking ingredients.  The website is probably your best bet – tip for next year! I did like their spooky cupcake set, complete with Halloween baking cases, and little ghouls and pumpkins on cocktail sticks.

Photographed by Hannah CarmichaelMy friends Hannah and Hazel were much more adventurous and used ‘A Zombie Ate My Cupcake’ book by Lily Vanilli  to create spooktacular treats including graveyard cupcakes with marzipan worms complete with gingerbread cookies for the tomb stones and eyeballs speared with sugar glass oozing with cherry jam for bloody treats (I actually shivered when I saw the photo!). They also made fondant death masks so their friends could decorate them at the party! You can check out Hannah’s photos here.

I used the Cakes4Fun chocolate cupcake recipe and chocolate buttercream for these Halloween treats with the Waitrose witches and Frankensteins on top. I was really chuffed with how the fairycakes came out of the oven – they were totally flat! The secret to this is to mix the ingredients for atleast 3 minutes. It seemed that if the cupcakes weren’t atleast half full though, the baking case collapsed. I did have a slight mishap on the piping as I cut my disposable piping bag too close to the metal nozzle and so icing could escape from the bag. They still tasted good but I think that next time I still stick to my trusty baking cases rather than the Halloween ones plus I won’t be making the same mistake again with the piping bag!

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

Slovenian desserts and delicacies

This month, I visited Slovenia and had a wonderful holiday there. It is very beautiful, full of forests, lakes and mountains and totally unspoilt. Food was a big part of the holiday too and along with savoury dishes such as goulash, pate, bratwurst with sauerkraut, venison medallions and half a loaf of homemade bread each at mealtimes, dessert was a firm favourite. We sampled apple strudel on our first night in our hotel which was lovely but the real find was Cacao, a cafe cum dessert restaurant, set by the Ljubljanica river in the city Ljubljana. We skipped lunch and instead, later on in the afternoon, had chocolate ice cream, tiramisu or this fabulous chocolate and raspberry torte accompanied by beer and chilled white wine. You can see I tucked into it before I remembered I needed a photo for the blog! It was divine just eating dessert and looking at the picturesque cityscape.

The second dessert I managed to get a snap of was this delicious baklava. We stayed in a self catered apartment in Kranjska Gora in the north west of Slovenia and our hosts gave us this absolutely mouth-watering delicacy. Our host said the baklava was a Bosnian dessert and it oozed honey, booze, and ground walnuts. Although we were about to go out for dinner, after a three hour walk, I couldn’t resist but cut quarters off it until unsurprisingly it disappeared in moments!

Royal Wedding cake ideas

As I am moving house the day before the Royal Wedding, I’m likely to be too exhausted to bake. No doubt my kitchenware will be the first thing I unpack though! However, I didn’t want to miss out on all the cake fun so I have found some great places for Royal Wedding cake baking inspiration.

  • Crumbs and Dollies have made these gorgeous Royal Wedding cupcakes which you can order online.

Royal wedding cake

  • Beas of Bloomsbury are doing a Royal Wedding  lock in after hours which sounds fabulous. Between 7 and 9pm on 29 April, you can toast the happy couple with a glass of champagne, ‘kiss me kate’ cupcakes, mini victoria sponges and mini eton messes, Kate and Wills macarons and some traditional fruitcake!
  • Cupcake Style are offering all the Union Jack sprinkles, flags and decorations you could ever want.
  • Let them eat cake exhibition – only on today and tomorrow Mon 25 April – hosted by Tate & Lyle Sugars – an exhibition of royal wedding cakes throughout the ages – it’s free to go and is open 10-5pm.
  • You have to love this lady, Sheila Carter, for spending two months KNITTING Kate and Wills a royal wedding cake!
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