Tag Archives: Baking

A promise is a promise! Mini-cakes for a friend’s birthday

I often post pictures of the food I make on my Facebook page. This has caused one of my friends to constantly ask me (jokingly) to cook something for him. I keep promising I will and despite seeing him every Tuesday for the last 3 years for rugby AND working in the same building as him I never did! Eeeeks. Till now. For his birthday I made mini cakes decorated with home-made vanilla buttercream frosting, blue glitter frosting, and mini m&ms. In other words… They looked like something a 2 year old would have done (as you can see from the one I made for myself on the left!)… BUT they tasted pretty darn good, were easy to make, and reasonably light (due to size NOT ingredients!)

So anyways… you ask mini-cakes… aren’t those just cupcakes? Well yes, but since I didn’t have wrappers and self-rising flour… they came out looking like mini-cakes rather than cupcakes… and so mini cakes it is! Sometimes a girl just gets lazy and makes do with what is already in the house…!  Besides…  I baked these things at 10 o clock at night AFTER work and football practice… going to the supermarket just to make traditional cupcakes might have taken things a bit far. lol.

To make 12 mini cakes / cupcakes you will need the following:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 110 grams butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • couple drops of vanilla extract

Butter Cream Frosting ingredients

  • 110 grams of softened butter
  • 3 to 4 cups of icing sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extract

Basically as always its pretty simple. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar (helps if the butter is softened) – it should be nice fluffy. Then add in the eggs and stir. Then slowly add in the flour, and then a little of the milk, bits at a time. Finally add in the vanilla extract. Stir this all together until smooth.

Then pour into muffin holes, about three-quarters the way to the top, add bake for about 20 mins.

Let the the cakes cool – in the mean time get your frosting ready.

To make the frosting whip the butter a little and then slowly bit by bit add in the icing sugar until you have the right taste and texture. Finish with a little vanilla extract.

When the cakes are cooled decorate! I used mini m&ms and glitter frosting!

Enjoy x


Leek, mushroom and gruyere tarts

I had a few pieces of puff pastry squares leftover from before and thought about what I could do with them, with what’s in my fridge. In my fridge, I had some baby leeks, mushrooms, gruyere and olive and tomato chutney. So I decided to make a leek tart.

Another very very easy and quick recipe.

Spray a muffin tin and line your pastry squares into the holes. Place a tiny amount of the tomato and olive chutney on to the pastry square. Then fill 3/4 the way to the top with leek and mushroom mixture (more on that below), and then top with a little gruyere. Bake for about 10 minutes, until pastry is crisp and golden and cheese is melted. Finish with a tiny bit more tomato and olive chutney.


Leek and Mushroom mixture

Cut off the roots of the leeks and clean. Then chop finely – saute in butter with some sea salt over a medium heat. You want the leeks to be translucent. Also finely chop the mushrooms and then add to the leeks (you should have more leeks than mushrooms – roughly a 60:40 split), also add some red chilies. Cook down. Season with pepper and a little rosemary (add more salt, if needed). Taste. If you’re happy remove off the heat and add to the tarts.

Enjoy x

Chili and Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

Update: I had some cake the morning after (it had been in the fridge over night) and it’s even better half a day later and cold. The cake is still dense and moist (but not heavy) however the cinammon and chili have enhanced – not overpowering but nicely warming against  cold cake. YUM!! 🙂

I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth and while I do adore the taste of chocolate, I’m no fiend and I rarely crave it. Although, chocolate and peanut butter OR chocolate and chili are good ways to get on my good side! :-p

However, lately I have felt the urge to bake, but the question was always WHAT? because I really don’t like sugar all that much. With the coming of Halloween I decided whatever I baked had to be a little twisted. So I came up with the following cake, and while baking is precise, as always, this recipe is robust enough for tweaking. Despite what I write below… I definitely “tweaked.” Mainly because I chose to halve (very roughly – as I had to deal with trying to convert from weight measurements to cups) an existing recipe and relied a lot on “eye-balling” to guess as to whether it was the right proportions. I also added the chili and cinnamon elements at will. Ah well… it turned out pretty well and that’s what counts!

For the cake (to make a small cake)

1.25 cups plain flour

3/4 cup caster sugar (can add more if you prefer it sweeter)

2.75 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

0.5 cup milk

Glug of vegetable oil (maybe 2-3 tablespoons… I just did a quick pour)

1 vanilla pod

0.5 cup boiling water

1 egg

paprika, chili powder, cinnamon powder

How to do it…

Basically this is is the easiest cake recipe ever. Mix all the ingredients listed together in one bowl up until the vanilla pod. Make sure the batter is starting to form (it will still be quite dry / doughy) at this stage. Then pour in the boiled water. Now your mixture is quite liquidy. That’s fine – it’s what makes this cake so moist. Taste. If you want add more sugar or cocoa. Then add in most of the seeds from the vanilla pod (reserve some for your icing) and the cinnamon, paprika and chili powder (more cinnamon than chili – but it should be to your taste). Taste and adjust if need be. Then crack in the egg. Stir. Pour the mixture into a greased pan and bake for about 20 mins in a medium oven. Once the top is no longer goopy and you put a knife or toothpick in cleanly through the cake it’s done. Mine cooked in twenty minutes. Leave aside to cool and focus on the icing now.

For the icing

100 grams softened unsalted butter

chili chocolate

icing sugar




How to do it…

Cream (mix) the softened butter with some cinnamon powder and a little paprika + chili. Add the remaining vanilla seeds. Slowly sift in icing sugar until you get your desired texture and taste. Then add in 2.5 tablespoons of melted chili chocolate. Add a bit more icing sugar if you need it for texture.

Once the cake is cooled, ice it! I also topped with hazelnuts… but the sky is the limit for cake decorating. (sadly that is not my forte)

Enjoy x


Ricotta and Spinach Parcels

First of all…. gah I hate working with phyllo. I’m so clumsy and phyllo is so delicate but aside from my difficulties I still use it because its delish!

The mixture

Saute diced onions in butter with a little garlic. You do not want to brown the onions so cook on a low temperature. Season with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Then add in chopped spinach – you only want to wilt the spinach. Season with a little paprika and more lemon juice. Then remove off the heat and allow to cool.

Once the mixture is cooled mix with ricotta (I used buffalo ricotta because there was some available in Waitrose.) Taste and season with more lemon juice, salt, pepper or paprika as you like. Grate a little mozzarella and mix in, then stick into the fridge to cool.

Defrost your phyllo sheets. Once defrosted, melt some butter for brushing. Take a phyllo rectange and brush one half with butter, and then fold the other half over to make a square. Brush with butter. Add one more layer (half a rectangle) and brush with butter. Then spoon some of your ricotta mixture onto the phyllo sheet and fold over. You could make a triangle or sausage shape. Or if you’re me… go free form! As long as there are no holes or gaps its all good. Brush a little more butter on and then stick into the oven to bake. Remove when the phyllo is browned. Take care its not burnt. I flipped my phyllo parcel over mid-way through as the bottom cooked quicker than the top.

Afterwards remove and eat up! I ate my parcel with some of the salsa from before and it was yum!!

Enjoy x

Muffin Mania 2: Raspberry, Lemon and Chocolate muffins

The sweet kind this time!

Day 2 of my muffin mania leads me to a more traditional style of muffin… yummy desert. Also super simple to make, also very flexible, and we’re going to pretend also very healthy. Well, I used some wholemeal that must count right? And fruit! So we’re going to pretend this is healthy goodness anyways. It was pretty light when eating.

For the recipe you will need:

a bowl


muffin tray (lightly greased with healthy spray)


  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a little pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 .5 cups regular flour
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups frozen raspberries (thawed)
  • chocolate chips (as many as you want)
So pretty simple again: in a large bowl dump in the sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and the vanilla. Then add in some finely grated lemon peel and the juice of half a lemon. Mash it all around. After that add in the following wet ingredients: egg, milk, and oil. Whisk. Then slowly add in all the flour. Keep whisking so no lumps. Once the flour is combined, add in the baking powder and soda, plus a pinch of salt.
The mixture should be wet but just stick slightly as well, so that the folds when you stir dissipate slowly. Now add in your totally thawed raspberries. They will disintegrate quickly and turn the mixture pinkish. After that add in your chocolate chips and start spooning into the muffin tin. Bake until tops are brown (roughly 20 mins).
Enjoy x