Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Baking: Cranberry and Orange Hot Cross Buns

Happy Easter everyone! Phew I'm nearly falling asleep writing this blog. I don't know what it is about sitting in the sun all day that makes you feel so tired. Maybe It's something to do with the copious amount of tasty food I've eaten today.

Today we had Boyfriends family over for a barbeque and discovered that his nan has never been to a BBQ before so it was a first! there was plenty of burgers, sausages, chicken and prawns, and then barbequed bananas with toffee sauce for after mmmmm nom!

as If that wasn't enough food I also made hot cross buns for everyone to take home and enjoy later for supper. I've just finished eating one toasted with butter and I enjoyed every last bite of it. I'm usually all about the cake but I'd been craving hot cross buns for a few days so I thought I'd make my own, and this is a really good recipe. I think It's definitely worth the effort over buying the shop bought ones and this way you can add the fruit you prefer. I'd been craving Cranberry and orange buns and it worked perfectly and made them a little different from the plain raisin.

Here's one:

And here's how they're made. (I got the original basic recipe from belleau kitchen and then adjusted it slightly to fit the flavours I wanted.)

Cranberry and Orange Hot Cross Buns.  

Makes 12

625g Strong white flour
1tsp Salt
2tsp Mixed Spice
45g Butter
85g Caster Sugar
Zest of 1 large Orange
2 tsp easy blend yeast
1 large egg
10floz Tepid milk (heat for a few seconds in the microwave)
100g Dried Cranberries
50g Raisins

For the cross & Glaze

2 Tbsp Flour
2 Tbsp Water
1 tbsp Golden syrup - heated.

Mix the flour, salt and mixed spice in a large bowl then rub in the butter until you have a sandy consistency and add the sugar, orange zest and yeast. Beat the egg into the milk and add to the flour mixture, bring the mixture together to form a soft dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead whilst sprinkling in the dried fruit in batches. Knead for about 5 minutes.

Place the dough ball in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

After an hour knock back the dough and knead for 1 minute. Place back in the bowl, cover again and put back in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has doubled in size divide into 12 balls, flatten slightly and place on greased baking trays. Pre-heat the oven to 240deg C. Place the trays in large plastic bags and tie the bags at the end. leave to rise for a further 40 minutes.

For the cross combine the flour and water to form a thick paste and pipe crosses onto the buns:

Bake the buns in the oven for 8 - 12 minutes until a dark golden colour then brush with warm syrup straight from the oven.

Once cooled enjoy the buns toasted and buttered with a nice cup of tea. Mmmm a tasty Easter treat. Why not make some this bank holiday.

Cupcake Kris

This post has been linked up to sweet as sugar cookies

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Portuguese Tarts

A couple of weeks ago now Boyfriend asked his brother over for dinner so I decided to make a recipe from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals book. I got this book at Christmas and me and Boyfriend take turns in picking a recipe for the other to cook. Most of the recipes in the book include a main, 1 or 2 side dishes and usually either a dessert of a drink / smoothie.

This time Boyfriend had chosen the Piri Piri Chicken with roasted peppers for me to make. And it turned out great, nice and spicy but so rich in flavour. I didn't make the potatoes suggested and just served it with rice and dressed salad. The dessert that was suggested with the recipe were Portuguese tarts. These were really easy to make, not the prettiest neatest of dessert but a really refreshing tasty little treat after dinner, and could be easily whipped up whilst dinner is cooking away. (Being a little treat meant I could eat 4 hehehe) The tarts comprise of a Cinnamon puff pasty case with a baked orange cream centre and an orange syrupy glaze. I love how easy they are to make an how once they're on the table they don't last very long before they're all scoffed.

And here are the tarts:

 Sorry about the terrible picture but have you ever tried taking a picture of a dessert when there's 2 hungry boys hovering around the table waiting to dig into their dinner (I couldn't get a picture of the chicken for that very reason) And here's how they're made.

I've doubled the recipe as there's no way you could just have 6 -  they would get eaten to fast hehe. Although I think you could get more than 12 out of this recipe ( if you have more pastry) as the mixture for the filling gives a generous amount.

Portuguese Tarts

Makes 12

Plain flour (for dusting)
1 x 375g pack of pre rolled puff pastry
Ground Cinnamon
250g Creme Fraiche
2 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla extract
10 tbsps Golden caster sugar
2 oranges

Preheat the oven to 200degC

Dust a clean surface with flour. Unroll the sheet of pastry and cut into two 20 x 20cm squares of pastry. Sprinkle the pastry with a few good pinches of cinnamon, then roll the pastry squares into sis roll shapes and cut each square into 6 rounds. Put these into 12 holes of a muffin / bun tin and use your thumbs to stretch and mould the pastry into the holes so the bottom is flat and the pasty comes up to the top to make a casing for the filling. Put on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 8 - 10 mins until lightly golden.

Spoon the creme fraiche into a bowl, add the eggs, 2 tbsp Golden caster sugar and the zest of the oranges. Mix well.

When the cases are baked, take them out of the oven and use a teaspoon to press the puffed up pastry back to the sides and make room for the filling. Spoon the filling mixture into the tart cases and return to the top shelf of the oven for about 8 mins.

Put a small saucepan on a high heat. Squeeze in the juice from the zested oranges and add 8 tbsps of golden caster sugar. Stir until it thickens and forms a syrupy caramel.

Pour some caramel over each tart (They'll still be wobbly but that's fine) Put aside to set and cool. Enjoy

And that's it.

Being Easter weekend I have a busy weekend of cupcake orders and baking ahead so I best get planning.

Till next time.

Cupcake Kris

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Banoffee Whoopie Pies

Phew another busy weekend. I don't know what is is lately but I think it may have something to do with the days getting longer and the weather getting nicer that makes my spare time quickly fill up with things to do very quickly. Take this weekend, apart from a meal on Sunday it was meant to be a free quiet weekend where I saved money ready for the Easter break.

However the sun had to go and put his hat on! And when it's sunny out it really puts me in the mood to meet up with friends or go shopping or something similar. So on Friday I left work early and before I knew it my quiet evening turned into a rowdy but fun one down the pub (even though my friends were rather disappointed i didn't bring the usual pub cupcakes.)
Saturday I shot a photo shoot for a friend as her photographer pulled out at the last minute so I had to leave my housework (oh shame) and go to the park and woods to take pictures of pretty ladies.
Then Sunday was filled with more sun which meant shopping & gardening and then leaving for my meal 3 hours early to take advantage of the sun and sit outside with a few cocktails before going to Bem Brazil to enjoy all you can eat steak, lamb, chicken etc.
It's a good job I had Monday of work (although I had to make 24 cupcakes), It's even taken me 3 days to write this blog.

So a busy one with not much chance to do much of the housework I had planned (Oh well) but I had a brilliant weekend with great food and wonderful friends.

Any way that's enough of me prattling on here's to the recipe! As I said in my last blog my next recipe will come from Hummingbird Bakery's new book Cake Days. I was so excited to get this book as every recipe in it just looks scrumptious, and I'm sure as in their last book they will be. However just as in the last book there also seems to be a few glitches when it comes to measurements. Take for instance the re-appearance of their vanilla cupcakes. Now its the same recipe I've always used from the last book just doubled however their last book says the recipe makes 12 cakes (I'd say 11) yet the new book claims this doubled up recipe makes 12 -16. So as great as all these recipes look I'm envisaging having to practice and tweak recipes.

And this is what I feel the first recipe I tried needs. I chose the Banoffee whoopie pies as the first one I tried and even though they tasted great fresh they didn't keep very well and they went very sticky after a day, also the banana in them went off colour and I didn't like the texture. So its neither a thumbs up or a thumbs down on this one. If your going to make them I'd suggest making them on the same day they are to be eaten.

Anyway here they are:

And here's how they're made:

for the sponge:
1 large egg
150g Caster sugar
125g Plain yogurt
25ml milk
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
75g Unsalted butter, melted
275g Plain Flour
3/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
2 bananas.

For the filling: - these are hummingbirds measurements and I found I had way to much (Only needed about 1/2 to 2/3rds of this)

170g Unsalted butter, softened
280g Icing sugar
220g Vanilla marshmellow fluff (this can be hard to source and expensive in the UK, so even though I used it this time next time I will experiment with melted marshmellow or just icing)
2tbsp Tinned caramel  (dulce de leche)

Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg and sugar until pale and fluffy. Stir together the yogurt milk and vanilla in a jug, then add this gradually to the egg mixture mixing until combined. Add the melted butter and mix again.
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and Cinnamon, then add this to the liquid ingredients in 2 batches, mixing well after each addition. Break up the bananas into small rough pieces, then stir into the batter by hand.  Put the batter in the fridge and allow to cool and set for 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170 deg C and line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
Remove the batter from the fridge and spoon onto the trays in 3-5cm diameter mounds, making 16-20 in total leaving space between each for expansion. Bake in the oven for 10 - 13 mins or until golden and springy to the touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

While the sponges are cooking make the filling. Using the electric whisk, mix together the butter and icing sugar, add the marshmellow fluff and continue to beat on a high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the caramel and then place in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up slightly. 
When the sponges are cold spread the flat side of one with a generous helping of filling and sandwich together with another sponge. Assemble the remaining sponges.

And that's it!
So all in all I think this was an OK recipe they did taste really good but as I said I didn't find they kept very well. I had a ton of the icing left and as I'd forked out on a jar of marshmellow fluff I didn't want to waste it so I used it to top vanilla cupcakes and it was really nice! If you can get hold of marshmellow fluff easy enough this icing is soo good!

Any way that's all for today.

Cupcake Kris

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Gingerbread and a new book

Phew it seems like ages since I've blogged and yet again it seems like I've been super busy, I didn't even have time to bake last week although I've made up for it in the past few days, trying 3 new recipes. The first of which I'm posting today.

As I might have mentioned in the past I have a list 10 times as long as my arm of all the recipes for cakes & cookies etc I find and plan to bake, I even have a board in my kitchen with a list of those I really want to make soon. However sometimes all of that goes out the window and all those recipes get pushed back for something else, like when your Mum calls you to say she made a lovely ginger cake but there was none left and then all you can think of is how much you want a slice.

So off to mummy's I toddled (OK well I got boyfriend to drive me) to get the recipe and bake some for myself. And here it is: (Not the best picture as it didn't do how tasty and rich the cake was justice)

If preferred as well the cake can also be drizzled with Icing (Just a mix of Icing sugar and water)  and the top sprinkled with stem ginger however I was far to impatient for this and as soon as the cake was out of the oven I had to have a slice.

So It's not the fanciest looking loaf but I love this kind of cake, rich , moist and perfect with a nice cuppa.

It's a really easy one to make too and here's how:


4oz Unsalted Butter
6oz Black Treacle
2oz Golden syrup
2oz Brown Sugar
1/4 Pint of milk
2 Eggs
8oz Plain Flour
1 tsp Mixed spice
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
4 tsps Ground Ginger   (The original recipe called for 2 tsps but I like the cake to have a really deep ginger taste)

Icing and stem ginger to decorate (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 160 deg C. Grease and dust with a light layer of flour a 2lb loaf tin or a 7in square cake tin.
In a large saucepan, warm together the butter, treacle, syrup and sugar till melted, add the milk and allow to cool. Beat the eggs and blend with the cooled mixture.
Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl add the liquid mixture and fold in gently until combined.
Turn into the greased tin and bake for 1 1/4  to 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Ice when cool if preferred.

And that's it! Another option the recipe gives is to also fold in 4oz of sultanas to the mix before baking if desired. The recipe was from these small books / magazines my mum used to collect when I was little she had loads of folders of the magazines / booklets yet I can't remember the name of it.

Speaking of cook books though I went to Tesco the other day to pick up treacle to make this recipe and came back with a whole bag of shopping (as usual) which included this:

I just couldn't help myself! I love Hummingbirds recipes and bake a lot from their first book (even sticking it back together after naughty puppy decided to rip the cover and some pages up) and this book seems even better.
I want to bake pretty much everything from this book so no doubt one of their recipes will feature in my next blog, I know this for sure as I've just finished baking. You'll have to wait to find out which recipe it was though as that's all for today.

Bye for now

Cupcake Kris