Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Easter is nearly here and the shops are filling up with all sorts of chocolate goodies. Chocolate bunnies, Easter chicks and eggs in every size, shape and colour. So, deciding to have some Easter baking fun I made these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies.

Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Because I used Smartie mini eggs their bright colours show up so well on top of the brownies. Also Smartie mini eggs are hidden within each brownie, keeping their shape once baked.

Each of these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies are deliciously fudgey as you bite into them, with extra crunch and chocolate when you find a hidden egg.

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Since our children were little we have made up an Easter egg hunt for them. Sometimes friends and cousins get involved too, now they are a bit older. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me is the sharing that happens after the egg hunt is finished.

The children and sometimes adults, sit down with their spoils from the hunt and make sure everyone has the same number of eggs. Because I can never remember where they were hidden the numbers aren’t always even! So a good tip is to have a few eggs stashed in the cupboard, ready to even out the numbers so it’s fair.

And, if they do manage to find all of the eggs, you’ve got a secret stash of chocolate hidden away 😉.

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

What Easter Means To Me

While we celebrate Easter for it’s true Christian meaning, see Important StuffI’ve never found being a Christian to be boring.

We certainly have lots of fun in our home and making these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies, really is good fun! I had specific instructions from one daughter to make them larger than the Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites and I had the idea to bake them with whole, Smarties mini eggs, hidden inside.

Each Chocolate Mini Egg Brownie is drizzled in white chocolate before topping with more Smarties mini eggs. Easter is most definitely not the time in our house, for chocolate restriction!

In fact I’m not sure there ever is an appropriate time for that – but that’s a whole different subject!

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

Recipe: Makes 16 Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

200g/7oz Plain Chocolate – minimum 70% Cocoa solids

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate – minimum 35% Cocoa solids

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter

4 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Dark Brown Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1/4tsp Salt

4 Packets of Smatie Mini Eggs – 4 X 100g packets

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz White Chocolate – optional

Method: Preheat oven to 170C/150 fan, gas mark 3 1/2, 325F

Making The Brownie Batter

  • Line a 22.5cm x 30cm (9″ x 12″) deep baking tin with aluminium foil
  • Break up the chocolate (or chop) into individual squares, dice the butter and place both into a heat proof bowl.Place the bowl over a simering pan of water (a double boiler) ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  • Stir continuously until both the chocolate and butter are two thirds melted.
  • Carefully remove the bowl from the pan and continue stirring until the contents are completely melted.
  • Set the chocolate aside to cool.
  • Into a separate bowl add the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk lightly to combine the ingredients.
  • When the chocolate has cooled to just warm pour it into the egg mixture slowly, whilst gently stirring.
  • Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and add two packets of the Smartie Mini Eggs.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Gently fold all the ingredients together.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the tin.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Pour the brownie mixture into the lined tin.
  • Give the tin a couple of sharp taps against the worktop. This will help bring any trapped air bubbles to the surface.

Baking The Brownies

  • Place the tin into the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • Halfway through the baking time carefully tap the tin against the oven shelf, this helps the brownies stay fudgey and not rise, like a cake.
  • The brownies are baked when the outside edge has set and the top has the familiar, sugar cracked look. There should still be a bit of wobble at the centre.
  • As soon as they are baked remove the tin from the oven and allow the brownies to cool in the tin.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Look at the classic brownie top on the Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies?
  • Once cooled remove the brownies from the tin and peel away the sides of the foil.

Decorating The Easter Brownies

  • First of all break up the white chocolate and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Zap in short 20 second bursts, stirring after each heating period.
  • When the chocolate has almost melted, remove and keep stirring until completely melted.
  • Using a teaspoon drizzle half of the chocolate over the brownie slab.
  • Next add as many Smartie mini eggs as you dare, the melted chocolate will help them stick.
  • Now drizzle the other half of the white chocolate over the eggs and the brownie.
  • Leave to set in a cool place.
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
  • As soon as the chocolate has set cut the large brownie into quarters. Then cut each quarter into quarters and you will have 16 delicious Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies!
Smartie Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies cut into 16 squares.
  • Use a palette knife to remove each fudgey brownie from the foil.
  • Store any spare brownies in an airtight container for up to 5 days – there’s no way they last that long here!!
FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies

I like to serve these Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies with a few extra eggs, so that everyone can have the same number of eggs on top of their brownie. While watching their surprise when hidden mini eggs within the brownie. 😉

Whatever your plans this Easter, I hope that you take a minute to remember the reason it is celebrated?

Jesus gave His life that we may all know Him, true forgiveness, unconditional love and peace. With Him life may not be perfect, but the journey is much easier.

If you’ve enjoyed these Easter Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies then you may like these recipes too:

Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake

Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies 

FF Chocolate Mini Egg Brownies
Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies

Whatever you make and bake, I would love to see your pictures. Please tag me in on Twitter/Instagram.

Sammie xx

Entered for Marchs’ We Should Cocoa over at Tin and Thyme  and Lancashire Food

we should cocoa brownies

 

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Toffee Banoffee Waffles

You may have noticed I’ve been Waffle-ing a lot on here lately? Because ever since I received my Waffle Maker my mind has been buzzing with different recipes. So much so that I wondered if I could make waffles using a packet cake mix – the result my Toffee Banoffee Waffles.

W Toffee Banoffee Waffles
Toffee Banoffee Waffles perfect with a glass of fresh juice for breakfast.

Look good don’t they?

I have some very delicious, made from scratch recipes for waffles like my Vanilla Bean Waffles which are utterly delicious. Yet I’m aware that not everybody has the time, or confidence to make waffle batter from scratch and that’s ok. I’m not going to beat up on you because you want waffles but feel intimidated by not only cooking them yourself, but also having to follow a recipe.

Since everyone has to start somewhere and if using a packet mix is going to help you get started on the scary home baking journey, then Sammie is here to hold your hand.

W Toffee Banoffee Waffles
Toffee Banoffee Waffles add a scoop of ice cream and you have a fabulous dessert! 

Also I find it a great convenience knowing I  have a reliable packet mix in the cupboard for when the urge to Waffle strikes 😉.

Finally, I set about testing some different cake mixes, so you can be sure your waffles will turn out brilliantly.

Using a mix isn’t cheating!

Wright’s Baking have a range of cake mixes that are very good quality. I was tempted by the toffee cake mix – with the idea of Toffee Banoffee Waffles already buzzing around my brain.

With one very small adaptation to the recipe the Wright’s toffee cake mix makes outstanding waffles. I mean these are seriously tasty and have a great texture too.

W Toffee Banoffee Waffles
Toffee Banoffee Waffles perfect for a weekend lazy morning brunch.

Toffee flavoured waffles, topped with banana slices and drizzled with caramel sauce – utterly scrummy!

My waffle maker by Andrew James Ltd. recommends wiping (although I use a soft pastry brush) butter or vegetable fat over the waffle plates before use. I prefer to use melted butter. Because I was melting  butter to prepare the waffle plates it made sense to add melted butter, instead of vegetable oil to the cake mix.

That is the only change I made. Tip the contents of the toffee cake mix into a bowl, add the specified amount of water and melted butter (I think the butter gives the waffles a more waffle-like taste), whisk as instructed and you have waffle batter in around 2 minutes!

How easy is that??!!

So here are the pictures to take you through making Toffee Banoffee Waffles step by step:

One packet of Wright’s Toffee Cake Mix makes 12 waffles

Melt the butter and prep your waffle maker as per the instruction booklet.

Making the Waffles

  • First of all tip one packet of Wright’s Toffee Cake Mix into a bowl.
  • Add the water and melted butter, as per instructions on the packet.
  • Whisk for 1 minute.
  • Spoon 2 dessert spoons of mixture (or specified quantity for your machine) onto each waffle plate.
W Toffee Banoffee Waffles
Cake mix in a waffle maker? This Wright’s toffee one works a treat!
  • Close the lid and cook the waffles for 4-5 minutes.
  • The waffles will be slightly soft when cooked but harden on cooling.
W Toffee Banoffee Waffles
Toffee Banoffee Waffles serve straight away.

I recommend eating these waffles straight away with a sliced banana, drizzle of caramel sauce and dusting of icing sugar. Although if eating for dessert I would absolutely add a scoop of ice cream, or a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkle over some crumbled Cadbury’s Flake.

Perfect!

Sometimes cheats are necessary and if they work well why not?!

Note: I tested other cake mixes by the same company and they were not suitable for turning into waffles. If more mixes become available I will add/link them to this post.

Do you have a super successful cheat that you’d like to share?

If you have enjoyed these Toffee Banoffee Waffles and would like to try making your own from scratch, here are the recipes:

Vanilla Bean Waffles 

W Vanilla Bean Waffles
Vanilla Bean Waffles utterly delicious and versatile.

Chocolate Dunking Waffles 

W Chocolate Dunking Waffles
Chocolate Dunking Waffles perfect alongside a delicious hot chocolate.

Please tag me in on Twitter/Instagram with photos of your makes and bakes. I love seeing what you are making?

Whatever you are feasting on, enjoy and remember food tastes better when it’s shared!

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

Wright’s Baking provided me with the cake mixes to review. I was not paid to write this post. All opinions, views and content are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

 

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Andrew James Waffle Maker Review

Waffles, I have been wanting to make my own forever – very slight exaggeration there, honestly though for a long time. I was sent an Andrew James Waffle Maker, by Andrew James UK Ltd to review and set myself the challenge of also coming up with a few recipes along the way!

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Chocolate Dunking Waffle anyone????

When reviewing a product, especially a non-essential kitchen item, which is what I would have classed the Andrew James Waffle Maker as, I’m pretty tough. If another gadget or electrical appliance is going to take up precious space in my already overcrowded kitchen, well, it’s got to earn its place.

So I look for durability, consistency, versatility, ease of use and the one we all love to hate, how easy is it to clean. I’m a home cook, not a chef, but I still want good quality and a variety of recipes, in order for an appliance to warrant being kept.

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
This is the Andrew James Waffle Maker that I reviewed.

Firstly I was impressed with how well the Andrew James Waffle Maker was packaged. There wasn’t any excess space in the box and the sides of the waffle maker were protected with polystyrene. Actually after use, once cooled and cleaned, I store it, in it’s protective packaging, back in the box.

I read through the instruction booklet, which was easy to follow, brief and concise. Before use it is recommended to wipe over the waffle maker, including the waffle plates with a clean damp cloth. This I did.

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Press the big button and this is what the Andrew James Waffle Maker looks like.

The instruction booklet recommends wiping over the waffle plates with butter/vegetable fat, prior to each use, to maintain the non stick waffle plates. Having square ridges on the waffle plates meant this could potentially be quite tricky. Instead I opted to brush melted butter onto the plates with a soft pastry brush, although a silicone brush would be suitable as well. Using melted butter also ensures, that as it cools on the cold waffle plates, you can see if you have evenly covered the plates.

Using the Andrew James Waffle Maker for the first time, I decided to make a batch of Vanilla Bean Waffles.

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Vanilla Bean Waffles – ooh so good.

As each waffle recipe calls for melted butter, that has been cooled, I melted an extra 20g of butter (than called for in the recipe), specifically for brushing onto the waffle plates.

Once the waffle plates have been brushed with melted butter, close the waffle maker and switch on via the plug. An orange light illuminates on the top of the waffle maker to show it is switched on. When the green light illuminates, the waffle maker is ready to use.

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Andrew James Waffle Maker orange light indicates that it is heating up.

From the time of switching on ALWAYS use suitable heat protection for your hands whilst using.

I found it very easy to open and close the waffle maker whilst wearing oven gloves. Also be aware that the top and sides of the waffle maker get very hot!

Once the green light illuminates you can start cooking your waffles.

The instruction booklet does not give any guidance as to how much waffle mixture should be added to each plate. I found that for all the recipes I used,  two dessert spoons  of waffle batter was sufficient.

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Andrew James Waffle Maker add the waffle batter to the middle of each waffle plate.

Close the lid of the waffle maker as soon as the batter has been added to the waffle plates. The length of time required for cooking each waffle varies with each recipe. As a guide it is between 4 – 6 minutes.

Whilst cooking, the waffle maker may emit steam. I simply wiped away any condensated water from the worktop after use.

Once the cooking time had elapsed, wearing oven gloves, I pressed the large button, opened the waffle maker and there were my very first, deliciously cooked waffles.

I used a simple wooden spatula to lift each cooked waffle from the waffle plate. Again metal, or anything abrasive should not be used against the waffle plates, as this may damage their non stick surface.

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Andrew James Waffle Maker and my first ever waffles!

You will notice that the waffles above have slightly irregular edges. This is because not enough waffle batter has been added to the waffle plates. However, from experience, I personally think it is better to slightly under fill the waffle maker. Once you have made your first two waffles you can slightly adjust the amount of batter added to the waffle plates.

If you overload the waffle plates with too much batter, you will still get beautiful waffles, as well as batter oozing out of the sides of the closed waffle maker and excess batter cooking on the hot surround of the waffle plates.

Although I found this relatively easy to clean up, it is a waste of waffle batter. I want all my batter to turn into delicious cooked waffles!

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Stacks of waffles cooked two by two with the Andrew James Waffle Maker

Over the period of 2 weeks I cooked over 60 waffles using the Andrew James Waffle Maker. I tested different recipes and consistency. Above is a picture of 28 waffles cooked one after the other, with the waffle plates having only been greased at the start of the waffle making marathon.

What I found was complete consistency, throughout the process – obviously quantity of batter added to the plates and cooking time were kept the same. Also throughout the whole review period NOT A SINGLE WAFFLE STUCK!

After each cooking session was complete, the waffle maker was switched off and left open to cool before cleaning. To be completely honest this was the part that I was not looking forward to!

Cleaning the Andrew James Waffle Maker

Once cold and unplugged I used the wooden spatula to scrape any excess cooled batter from the waffle plate surround. Then using a cloth rinsed in warm soapy water I wiped over the entire inside of the waffle maker. Certainly on the waffle plate surround, where excess batter had stuck, I had to rub a few times to clean it off. I then wiped around the back of the waffle maker, where the hinges are. Finally I found that the underside of the waffle maker became greasy, so that was then thoroughly wiped. I left the waffle maker open to dry and before packing away gave the top a quick wipe over and then dried with a clean tea towel.

Each time I cleaned the waffle maker it took no longer than 5 minutes.

To conclude, I absolutely love this Andrew James Waffle Maker! It was very easy to operate and use. During the waffle making marathon it proved to be consistent and durable. I was able to create a range of new recipes, both savoury and sweet, so it ticked the versatility box.

The Andrew James Waffle Maker has most certainly earned it’s place in my kitchen and is now classed as an essential kitchen appliance for me. I thoroughly recommend this waffle maker.

If you like waffles, you will love the smell of them freshly cooking, in your own home, using the Andrew James Waffle Maker.

Cherry Bakewell Waffles makes 8

Andrew James Waffle Review
Cherry Bakewell Waffles utterly delicious.

Vanilla Bean Waffles

200g/7oz Sugar and Crumbs Cherry Bakewell flavour icing sugar – alternatively use plain icing sugar with 1/2tsp almond extract added

50g/2oz Flaked Almonds lightly toasted

8 Glacé Cherries chopped into quarters

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough water to make a light drizzling consistency. Stir well to ensure there aren’t any lumps.

Toast the Vanilla Bean Waffleyou want them very slightly crisp.

Drizzle the flavoured icing over the waffles. Add a few pieces of cherry to each waffle and then scatter over with toasted almond flakes. Serve immediately, or let cool and keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

These are great for afternoon tea, picnics, or with a large latte and a good book!

In fact, these Cherry Bakewell Waffles are perfect any time of the day.

Smoked Salmon Waffle Appetisers makes 16

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Smoked Salmon Waffle Appetisers

These Smoked Salmon Waffle Appetisers are a perfect savoury twist for the waffle and they are completely delicious! Perfect for parties.

Use the Vanilla Bean Waffle recipe only adding 10g of sugar and leaving out the vanilla bean paste.

You need 4 waffles for this recipe – excess waffles can be frozen in a zip lock freezer bag for up to one month.

Toast each waffle so that it is slightly crisp. Set aside on a rack to cool.

Place 200ml Creme Fraiche into a bowl.

Add 4 heaped teaspoons of creamed horseradish sauce (I used the hot variety).

Stir to combine – add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut each waffle into quarters.

Place a teaspoonful of the horseradish/creme fraiche sauce on top of each waffle quarter.

Top with a slither of smoked salmon.

Sprinkle over chopped chives, or dill and serve on a platter.

If you have enjoyed the Andrew James Waffle Maker review you are sure to enjoy these recipes too:

Chocolate Dunking Waffles 

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Chocolate Dunking Waffles have fun with your waffles!

Vanilla Bean Waffles with Boozy Berry Sauce

Andrew James Waffle Maker Review
Vanilla Bean Waffles with Boozy Berry Sauce a classy dessert.

Do you love waffles?

Would you like to experience the aroma of freshly cooked waffles in your kitchen?

I for one am a complete waffle convert. I have loved seeing how tasty and versatile they are. Most of all, I have realised how much fun they can be. Breaking the ‘rules’ by dunking them in delicious hot chocolate, or serving as a classy appetiser with smoked salmon. Who knew??

As always have fun with your waffle experience. Enjoy the feasts you create and don’t forget to tag me in on Twitter/Instagram, I love seeing your makes and bakes.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

All opinions, recipes and content are my own. I did not receive payment for carrying out this review. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

To see the Andrew James Waffle Maker I reviewed please click here.

 

 

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Boozy Berry Sauce

If you want to vamp up your desserts I have the perfect Boozy Berry Sauce to do it with. Raspberries, strawberries and morello cherry conserve, mingle together with a decent splash of Framboise, to make a very classy fruit sauce.

Waffles Boozy Berry Sauce
Boozy Berry Sauce delicious with Vanilla Bean Waffles.

This Boozy Berry Sauce is the work of moments, however, your dinner party guests won’t know that. We’ll just keep it a secret between us. Ok?

I firmly believe that if you can make a couple of sauces really well, it can transform your dessert menu. Pour this intensely fruity sauce, with it’s little hint of raspberry liquer, over good quality vanilla ice cream and you have yourself one extremely tasty after dinner treat!

I developed this recipe to go with my Vanilla Bean Waffles it was a fantastic pairing, what surprised me more was how well it went with my Chocolate Waffles.

Waffles Boozy Berry Sauce
Boozy Berry Sauce perfectly compliments these gorgeous chocolate waffles,

I should have realised that raspberries and chocolate are a classic pairing and this Boozy Berry Sauce with it’s delicious raspberry flavour, only need be poured over a chocolate waffle for the magic to happen. A taste bud party that you won’t want to end!

This rich fruity sauce is also perfect poured, warm, over a pavlova, piled high with whipped cream and fresh berries. Ooh crunchy meringue with marshmallow inner, fresh fruit, cream and this glorious Boozy Berry Sauce, that is one dessert I must make – soon!

Waffles Boozy Berry Sauce
Boozy Berry Sauce perfect to make ahead and keep in the fridge.

You can of course substitute the raspberry liquer, for it’s blackcurrant counterpart Cassis, ooh that would be delicious. Of course you can leave the alcohol out altogether, in which case I’d recommend adding pomegranate juice, for it’s deep purple colour and intense flavour.

I do love a recipe that is versatile. With this sauce I actually used frozen raspberries. I see no reason why other berries can’t be substituted, providing the quantities are kept the same.

For the ‘boozy’ part of this sauce, if you have both Framboise and Cassis to hand, I’d say keep with the colours and flavour – so if you make this whilst blackberries are abundant  add Cassis, for red berries and cherries I’d stick with Framboise. That said it is all a matter of taste and preference. I would advise against adding a stronger spirit, for example brandy, as it would completely over power the fruit flavour.

Recipe: Makes 6 servings of Boozy Berry Sauce

300g Raspberries

300g Strawberries – hulled and quartered

100g Morello Cherry Conserve

3tbsp Caster Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract- I use Nielsen-Massey

3tbsp Framboise – raspberry liquer

1tsp Corn Flour – also known as Corn Starch

Method:

Waffles Boozy Berry Sauce
Add the raspberries, sugar and Framboise to a small, heavy based pan.

Bring gently to a simmer and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Once the raspberries are gently bubbling add the cherry conserve.

Waffles Boozy Berry Sauce
Next add the morello cherry conserve to the saucepan.

Stir to mix the cherry conserve with the raspberries.

When the sauce is bubbling add the strawberries.

Waffles Boozy Berry Sauce
Add the chopped strawberries to this delicious smelling Boozy Berry Sauce.

Stir and leave to bubble away on a gentle heat for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl add the teaspoon of cornflour to 2 teaspoons of cold water.

Mix together and then pour into the sauce.

Stir until the sauce thickens – less than one minute.

Allow the Boozy Berry Sauce to continue bubbling gently on a low heat for 5 more minutes.

Allow the sauce to cool until warm before using.

Once cooled it can be poured into airtight containers and kept in the fridge for 3 days.

When needed, add the cold sauce back to a saucepan, over a medium heat bring the sauce up to simmering point.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Waffles Boozy Berry Sauce
Boozy Berry Sauce alongside a delicious caramel sauce.

What will you pour your Boozy Berry Sauce over?

The Caramel Sauce can be found here.

I do hope you try my Boozy Berry Sauce with or without the booze! It really is delicious and will turn any dessert into a taste adventure.

If you have enjoyed making my Boozy Berry Sauce then you’ll love these:

Blackberry Nectarine Tart 

Blackberry Nectarine Tart Sauce
Blackberry Nectarine Tart the simplest of desserts.

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova 

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova Sauce
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova everyone’s favourite.

Have fun whatever you make and send me a photo via Twitter/Instagram, I really love seeing what you make.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

 

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Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Wednesday this week was a truly dreary, dark and very cold day. All types of weather threw themselves at the ground; hail, snow, rain, sleet and it was windy too. Especially as it is March, I want to see evidence of Spring. Most of all flowers and lambs. Finally, I an attempt to cheer us all up I made these very pretty and extremely delicious Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes.

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Does the image of pink, raspberry buttercream topped cupcakes, adorned with large daisy flowers and butterflies cheer you up?

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

While the weather was so chilly and dreary, I was also feeling a little blue too, having just received news that a very close friend is extremely poorly. And so baking these cupcakes was therapeutic on both counts.

Do you find baking relaxing?

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

    Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Using Naturally Flavoured Icing Sugar

Although these are called Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes, which is true, the cake part is flavoured with Nielsen – Massey Vanilla Extract, for the buttercream I have used a favourite flavoured icing sugar.

Sugar and Crumbs sell an amazing range of naturally flavoured icing sugars. While making my Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes I used their Raspberry Ripple flavoured icing sugar. Since the day that last cupcake was eaten, in Kylie’s own words “I just can’t get you outta my head” I have wanted more. Especially more of the delicious tasting buttercream and more cupcake to swirl it onto!!

And so these Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes were the perfect excuse to indulge my passion again.

Importantly, this time I wanted to leave the option of using flavoured buttercream as a choice. If you do buy some flavoured icing sugar, you can certainly make the buttercream any flavour you like, as the vanilla sponge will go with any flavoured frosting. Alternatively, if you want to stick with vanilla buttercream that tastes awesome as well.

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Personally I think the pink icing, along with the decorations, really set these cupcakes apart. Although ‘Springtime’ was at the forefront of my mind whilst creating these beauties, with Mother’s Day being this coming Sunday, they would also make a perfect gift for any Mum.

Recipe: Makes 18 Large Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

For the Cake:

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter at room temp.

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – or you can substitute for Vanilla Extract

3 Large Free Rang Eggs

3tbsp Milk – whole or semi skimmed

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

1.5tsp Baking Powder

1/8th tsp/pinch of Salt

For the Buttercream:

350g12oz Icing Sugar – I used 250g Sugar and Crumbs Raspberry Ripple flavour and 100g/4oz Plain Icing Sugar. (Confectioners Sugar)

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter

Pink Food Colour – I used Wilton pink food colouring gel (available from cake decorating shops, Amazon and similar from Lakeland UK)

2tbsp Very Hot Water

Dr Oetker rice paper daisies, various sprinkles (available from most supermarkets)

Rice paper butterflies – from Amazon

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan oven, gas mark 3, 325F

Making The Vanilla Cupcake Batter

  • First of all, line 2 cupcake tins with 18 muffin or deep cupcake cases – the ones I used were a Christmas present from Lakeland.
  • Into a large bowl add your butter and sugar.
  • Whisk or beat until pale and creamy – approx 5 minutes.
  • Add 3 eggs, milk and Vanilla Bean Paste.
  • Sift into the bowl the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Note: This is called the all-in-one method.
  • Whisk or beat until all of the ingredients are combined – take care not to over mix and this will make the cupcakes tough, not light and springy.
  • Place a heaped dessert spoonful of cake batter into each cupcake case.
NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Baking The Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Place the cupcakes into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes,
  • The cupcakes are baked when they have risen and are a golden colour. They should spring back when pressed lightly on the top.
  • As soon as the cupcakes are baked remove from the oven.

NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Allow to cool completely before icing.

Making The Pink Buttercream

  • Place the softened butter into a large bowl.
  • Sift the icing sugar into the same bowl.
  • Add the 2 tablespoons of hot water.
  • Add the food colouring, I use a cocktail stick and simply insert the tip into the food colouring gel and then add to the bowl.
  • Starting slowly, whisk the buttercream ingredients until light, creamy and uniform in colour.

NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Fit a piping bag with a large star tip.

Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Piping Swirls Of Buttercream On To The Cupcakes

  • Place the icing bag into a tall sturdy container, I use a jug.
  • Use a spoon or spatula, fill the icing bag with all of the buttercream.
  • Practise on a plate, if piping for the first time.
  • Squeeze the bag so that all the buttercream is together.
  • Keep an even pressure with one hand squeezing the bag and using the other hand to guide the piping tip, pipe swirls onto the cupcakes.
NM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Finally add the decorations.
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes Gifting Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

I bought some cupcake pods, little plastic containers, perfect for holding one cupcake in and a great way to give individual cupcakes away as a gift. Since they were from Amazon and work out to about 10 pence per pod. Also they can be washed up and used again, which is great recycling and means you can share even more cupcakes with others!

Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes 

Since piping the swirls onto the cupcakes gives them a beautiful, professional finish. means use whatever cupcake toppers and sprinkles that you have to hand. The beauty of these Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes is that they are individual to your own sense of taste and style.

FF Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

If you like the Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes you will love these recipes:

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes so pretty.

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes the perfect way to say I Love You.

Strawberry Sweatheart Cake

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake swirled with roses and sprinkled with love

Enjoy baking and experimenting with piping different swirls!

Sammie xx

No part of the post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Vanilla Bean Waffles

Vanilla Bean Waffles. Just think on that for a while, whilst you gawp stare graciously at this picture.

Waffles on a plate with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

Light and fluffy inside, crispy and golden outer, these Vanilla Bean Waffles may just about be the best invention for breakfast, since sliced bread got a one-up and became toast!

Two waffles on a plate in the foreground with a stack of waffles and strawberries in the background.
Vanilla Bean Waffles

I have wanted a waffle maker for longer than I care to remember. This in itself is kind of odd, seeing as I’ve never eaten a waffle before in my life! Let alone made one. Yet after watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on Food Network UK, where Guy Fieri travels around the U.S. visiting various eating establishments. Since seeing all the incredible waffles sold all over the U.S.A I have been craving them. While I haven’t ever bought them pre-made from the supermarket, or even eaten them at a cafe or restaurant, I wanted to make them.

Homemade Food Tastes Better

It’s a little thing of mine, if I can buy it I want to make it. With only a couple of exceptions, don’t mention the croissants homemade always tastes better than pre-made, packaged, mass produced, supermarket produce.

Please don’t misunderstand me? I really couldn’t manage without the convenience of my weekly online grocery shop, especially as I cannot drive at the moment. Rather, it is simply that, fresh from the Waffle iron, these Vanilla Bean Waffles are a million miles away from their shop bought counterpart. Plus you can switch up what you add to them.

AJ Vanilla Bean Waffles
Vanilla Bean Waffles better than shop bought?

Fortunately our daughter has eaten (and loves) shop bought waffles. Her verdict after eating two Vanilla Bean Waffles was a firm 10 out of 10 and “so much better than any I’ve eaten before” verdict. And that response was thrilling. She can be a tough cookie and 8.5 out of 10 is usually the highest she goes! So I knew I’d struck gold with this recipe.

Served warm with a dusting of icing sugar, super fragrant strawberries and a swirl of cream to seal the deal, the plate you see above was my lunch.

Oh boy. Why have I waited so long? All these years I’ve been missing out on the absolute, utter deliciousness of homemade waffles. Plus I was pretty pleased that I’d managed to nail the recipe on my first attempt!

Back to the waffles. You must try these. Seriously, even if you’re not the worlds greatest cook, with this recipe and a trusted Andrew James Belgian Waffle Maker, you can’t go wrong.

Note: It is always recommended that you read through the entire recipe before proceeding. This applies to all recipes on this site and in general.

Recipe: Makes 10 Vanilla Bean Waffles

This recipe assumes that you have read the waffle maker’s instruction booklet and carried out any pre-treatment required. Mine was simple to wipe over the non stick plates with a clean, damp cloth.

  • 120g Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Large Free Range Eggs
  • 150ml/5fl oz Whole Milk
  • 1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey 
  • 30g/2tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 225g/8oz Plain Flour – Self Raising can be substituted, omit the baking powder
  • 2tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon-sea salt

Method:

Making The Waffle Batter

  • First of all place the unsalted butter into a small saucepan on a low – medium heat. Allow the butter to completely melt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • While the butter is cooling crack the eggs into a large bowl. Give them a quick whisk.
  • Add the milk, sugar and vanilla bean paste to the eggs and lightly whisk to combine.
  • Once cooled weigh 100g of the melted butter into the egg, milk, sugar, vanilla bean paste mixture and whisk briefly to combine (wet ingredients).
  • Weigh the flour and sift along with the baking powder and salt into the bowl containing the wet ingredients.
  • Gently mix both the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined – over mixing will lead to tough waffles.

Prepping The Waffle Maker

 

AJ Vanilla Bean Waffles

  • While the Waffle Maker is switched off brush the melted butter so that it completely covers each of the waffle plates.
  • Close the waffle maker and switch on. For the Andrew James Belgian Waffle Maker it is ready to cook with when the green ‘ready’ light illuminates.
  • Using oven gloves, to protect your hands, as the top of the waffle make plus the waffle plates get very hot, press the button and open the waffle maker.

AJ Vanilla Bean Waffles

  • Use an American 1/4 cup measure (50ml – 2 heaped tablespoons).
  • Close the lid of the waffle maker and set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • Ensure the room is well ventilated as the cooking process produces steam.
  • I found 5 minutes to be the optimum time for cooking these Vanilla Bean Waffles in this waffle maker. Adjustments to time maybe needed if using a different brand.
  • Really enjoy the smell as the waffles are cooking – don’t be surprised if your neighbours line up at your front door!
  • After 5 minutes, wearing oven gloves, press the button to release the lid of the waffle maker.
AJ Vanilla Bean Waffles
Vanilla Bean Waffles.
  • Use a wooden spatula to help remove the waffles from the plates. They come away really easily. Most importantly do not use anything metallic to remove the waffles as it could scratch the non stick coating on the waffle plates.
  • Repeat adding 1/4 cup (50mls) as before to each plate.
  • Continue until all the waffle batter has been used.
  • As soon as the last waffle has been removed switch the waffle maker off and leave to cool.
AJ Vanilla Bean Waffles
Vanilla Bean Waffles.

What I Added To The Waffles

Enjoy your Vanilla Bean Waffles however you want.

I added sliced strawberries, a dusting of icing sugar and some whipped cream. Our children reheated their waffles in the toaster, before adding various combinations of ice cream, Nutella and strawberries! What you put on yours is up to you. Flavoured fruit or spiced butters work well. Also a drizzle of maple syrup tastes amazing on these golden beauties.

They keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container and can be reheated in the toaster or oven. To freeze, ensure the waffles are completely cold then pack into zip lock bags or containers with an airtight lid. Keep for one month in the freezer.

AJ Vanilla Bean Waffles
Vanilla Bean Waffles

For a first attempt at waffle making I am surprised and pleased with how easy it is. I would happily make these at weekends, invite some friends over for a breakfast party.

Oh wow how much fun would that be?

However you enjoy your waffles, I really hope I have inspired you to have a go and make some at home. They simply taste so unbelievably good.

Vanilla Bean Waffles perfect for feasting, sharing and having fun!

If you have enjoyed making these Vanilla Bean Waffles you may also like these recipes:

Toffee Banoffee Waffles 

FF Vanilla Bean Waffles
Toffee Banoffee Waffles

Chocolate Dunking Waffles

FF Vanilla Bean Waffles
Chocolate Dunking Waffles

 

Cherry Bakewell Waffles

AJ Cherry Bakewell Waffles
Cherry Bakewell Waffles

Since discovering the deliciousness and versatility of homemade waffles, weekend brunches in our house have become something we all look forward to. And while I have the waffle maker out it makes sense to double up the recipe and freeze some for another day. Also, if you prefer savoury toppings on your waffles, simply leave the vanilla bean paste out of the recipe. Alternatively you could make some plain waffles and then add some vanilla for a sweeter version. Finally, to reheat cold waffles, simply pop them in the toaster.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

The Andrew James Belgian Waffle Maker was provided for the purposes of review. All opinions, recipes and content are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

Hi, if you love chocolate, then you’re going to go crazy over this Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake. There’s melted chocolate in the fudge cake and melted chocolate drizzled over. Topped off with a generous sprinkle of Callebaut’s Chocolate Crispearls.

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake drizzled with melted chocolate and topped with mini chocolate crispearls.

I love Bundt tins. I really do. They take a great cake batter and without any help from the baker, turn it into a beautiful cake. That has got to be a very good thing, right?

The tin I used for this Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake is called the Jubilee Bundt made by Nordic Ware

I tend to buy my Bundt tins in the sale, or where I see them on special offer. They can be a bit pricey, but investing in just one tin, like this Jubilee, will give you a lifetime of intricately patterned cakes.

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
The Jubille Bundt Tin from Nordic Ware.

Can you imagine rocking up to a party with this gorgeous cake?

Yep, huge brownie points and that’s before anyone has tasted the cake!

I will warn you though – Bundt tins are addictive. A year ago I had one, now I have ten!!

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
Put the kettle on and enjoy every single bite of this Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake.

If you, or someone you know loves chocolate cake, then this is the cake to bake.

And because I appreciate not everyone owns this gorgeous tin, this Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake can be baked in a 10″ springform pan!

Although technically it would no longer be a Bundt cake??

So you get to think a whole new name up for it too!

Confused?? Yep me too.

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
The Crispearls give this moist Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake a crunchy topping.

Just look at this beauty – definitely made for sharing.

Now I love a sprinkle or two million.

I was sent these Callebaut Chocolate Crispearls to review. They are part of Callebeaut’s hot chocolate decoration range, which also includes, dark chocolate blossoms and dark chocolate granite – more on those last, two in future posts.

The chocolate Crispearls are just that, chocolatey and crispy. Perfect for adorning a melted chocolate drizzled, fudgey, chocolate cake.

All I can say is, this cake was so good, half had been eaten before dinner.

Thats like breaking all the rules (kidding) in our house. Life is too short to not have dessert before dinner on occasion! Yep we like to push the boundaries in our house 😉.

Recipe: Makes 1 Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

Cake release spray – I use Wilton (available from Amazon, Lakeland, Hobbycraft)

350g/12oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature

350g/12oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

3tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Salt

5 Large Eggs – I always use free range

100ml/4fl oz Sour Cream – left out of the fridge for an hour

175g/6oz Plain Chocolate – approx 70% Cocoa

175g Milk Chocolate – I used a good quality 49% Cocoa chocolate, ordinary milk chocolate is fine

Sprinkles to top the cake with

Method: Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan oven

  • Break or chop the plain chocolate and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring the chocolate well. When the chocolate is almost melted, remove the bowl and keep stirring until you have smooth, molten chocolate. Set aside.
  • Into a large bowl add the butter and sugar. Whisk until fully combined, this will take a good 5 minutes.
  • Crack the eggs into a jug. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract and mix.
  • Sift in one third of the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk or beat slowly.
  • Whilst still whisking add half of the liquid contents from the jug.
  • Repeat the last two steps again.
  • Add the last of the sifted ingredients and gently mix until just combined.
  • Remove the beater or whisk.
  • Pour in the cooled, melted chocolate and immediately stir into the cake batter with a metal spoon. Continue until the batter is a uniform colour.
  • Spray the Bundt tin thoroughly with cake release.
  • Fill the Bundt tin 3/4 full with cake batter. Use a metal spoon to gently press the cake batter into the tin. DO NOT bang the Bundt tin on the work surface, as this could damage the tin.
  • NOTE: There will be a small amount of cake batter left – this can be used for a few cupcakes or bundtlettes.
Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
If the tin is filled more than 3/4 full the baked cake may not release and/or the look of the final cake may be spoiled.
  • Place the tin into the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for 50-55minutes.
  • The cake is baked when it springs back from a light tough and an inserted skewer (I use wooden ones) comes out clean.
Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes.
  • Invert the Bundt tin onto a cooling rack. The cake should turn out immediately. If not leave to cool and the cake will release from the tin.
Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
One beautiful Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake.

To Decorate This Cake:

  • Melt the milk chocolate as before (for the plain chocolate). Drizzle over the top of the cake using a spoon.
Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
I choose to completely cover the top of the cake with melted chocolate and have a small amount dripping down.
  • Take whatever sprinkles you are using and sprinkle away. I kept the Chocolate  Crispearls on the top of the cake.
Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake with Callebaut Chocolate Crispearls.

A stunningly beautiful cake, that also happens to deliver superbly on taste.

Who will you make this Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake For?

Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake
Cut a delicious slice of this Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake and get ready to share.

Such a beautiful cake, it almost seems a shame to cut into it – almost!!!

If you are hooked and want to make another Bundt cake, here’s some more recipes:

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake

Marbled Chocolate Bundt Cake

Sparkling Snowflake Cake

If you have any questions about ‘baking with Bundts’ please either leave a comment, or Tweet me @sammiefeasting. I am by no means an expert, but I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Have fun baking and even more fun sharing!

Sammie xx

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Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake

I adore lemons. Their fragrance, flavour and vibrant, sunny colour. So, I have put them to delicious use and made this Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake for you.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake

This Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake is an entirely different recipe to my Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Yes it still has strips of lemon zest and juice in the batter, making sure you keep topped up on your Vitamin C! This cake is more akin to a Madeira Cake, being slightly denser than a sponge. This is most definitely a good thing people!

Buttermilk is added in this recipe and it ensures a moist crumb, bursting with lemon flavour.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
The definition from the Bundt pan is stunning on this Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake

Can we talk about the glaze for a minute?

It is literally TA-DIE-FAW!!

Lemon juice mixed with icing sugar is a wonderful thing. It it the glaze that covers this cake.

Intensely lemony, not lip puckering though as it is wafer thin.

The lemon glaze is what first hits your tongue, waking your tastebuds up and alerting them to the buttery, lemon cake that follows. Oh yes this cake is lemon through and through.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake look how it sparkles!

So for all you lemon lovers out there – this is the cake you have been waiting for.

Please don’t worry if you don’t own a Bundt tin, this cake can be baked in an 8″ round tin, or a loaf tin.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Look at the fantastic detail on this Citrus Loaf Tin.

I would urge you though to buy a Bundt tin. They take any cake batter and turn it into the most beautiful cake without you having to do anything. That’s got to be a good thing, right?

All my Bundt tins are by Nordic WareThere are various stockists in the UK so it’s worth shopping around, for both variety and price.

The Citrus Loaf Bundt Tin I used for this cake was bought in the sales from Lakeland for half the retail price. I know they have sold out online now, but it’s worth checking your local branch.

Also Amazon, eBay, TK Max and other retailers,  frequently have Bundt tins at lower prices.

Have I convinced you?

Recipe: Makes 1 Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake – serves 8-10

Cake Release Spray – I use Wilton’s (or melted butter for greasing the tin)

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter –  at room temperature

175g/6oz Caster Suger

200g/7oz Self Raising White Flour (if using Plain flour use 2tsp baking powder not 1/2tsp as stated below)

1/2tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Salt

3 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tsp Vanilla Extract

100ml/4fl oz Buttermilk – left out of the fridge for 1 hour prior to use

2 Lemons – washed

200g Icing Sugar – sift

Optional – white edible glitter

Method: Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan oven

Note: If using melted butter to grease your tin, do so now, ensuring every part of the tin is covered in butter by using a pastry brush.

In a large bowl whisk the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Into a jug add the 3 eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.

Zest one of the lemons using a grater or lemon zester. Cut the lemon in half.

Add 2tbsp of flour to the bowl, then add the egg/buttermilk mixture from the jug.

Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Note: The 2tbsp of flour should stop the mixture from curdling. If it does curdle please don’t worry, it will come back together in the next step.

Add the rest of the flour, salt, lemon zest and juice from half a lemon to the bowl.

Using a metal spoon gently mix all the ingredients together, until you have a smooth cake batter.

Spray your Bundt tin thoroughly with cake release (I do this over the sink).

Spoon the cake batter into the Bundt tin, lightly pressing to ensure the batter is in every part of the tin.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Always ensure the Bundt tin is never more than 3/4 full with cake batter.

Place the tin into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.

The cake is baked when golden, slightly shrinking away from the sides and an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.

Once baked remove from the oven.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Place the Bundt tin onto a cooling rack and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes cooling invert the tin onto the cooling rack and leave for 5-10 minutes.

Gently lift the tin away from the cake.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Ta-dah one not yet Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake.

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

For the glaze:

Place a tray or a large piece of baking parchment under the cooling rack.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.

Juice the remaining lemon half and the other lemon. You need 60mls exactly of lemon juice. If you do not have quite enough top up with tap water.

Add the lemon juice to the icing sugar and mix thoroughly until you have a very smooth consistency.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Slowly spoon the glaze over the top of the cake.

Allow the glaze to drip down the sides and then spoon more glaze over uncovered parts of the cake. Taking the excess glaze from the tray underneath and re-spooning it over the cake until it is completely covered.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake allow the glaze to set.

When the glaze has set sprinkle lightly with white edible glitter.

Move the cake onto a serving plate.

Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
Delicious Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake.

Give yourself a pat on the back for making such a stunning cake!

Yes, alright I know the Bundt tin did most of the work, so why wouldn’t you want to get one??

Enjoy this cake with friends, family, work colleagues, anyone who loves lemon cake. Food tastes infinitely better when shared.

If you have loved baking this Glazed Lemon Bundt cake, here are a few more you might like to try:

Luscious Lemon Bundt Cake

Marbled Chocolate Bundt Cake

Lime Coconut Blossom Bundt Cake

Sammie xx

 

 

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Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble

Since it is cold, it’s wet, it’s Winter – time for real puddings. The warm, sweet comfort of fruit with a crunchy topping. This Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble, that just happens to be Gluten Free people, hits the spot.

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble a drizzle of cream perfectly compliments this pudding www.feastingisfun.com
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble a drizzle of cream perfectly compliments this pudding www.feastingisfun.com

That spot where only warm, fruity, drizzled with cream or custard, or both – I’m not judging – puddings can only hit.

Are you with me?

The pears are fresh and juicy, the blackberries are from the freezer, squirrelled away during our abundant, Autumn.

The perfect combination of fruit and nuts.
The perfect combination of fruit and nuts.

This crunchy, almond laden crumble comes together in mere moments, all the ingredients working in harmony together. The result an unctuous, fruity, crunchy, explosion in your mouth. You know, the kind of eating experience, where the inside of your cheeks suddenly suck in and your taste buds are woken up by the flavour party happening on your tongue.

Yep – that good!

And because as many as possible should be able to share in this pudding sensation, I made it Gluten Free. Because, why not??

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble juicy, plump fruit, hides beneath the delicious, Gluten Free, crumble topping www.feastingisfun.com
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble juicy, plump fruit, hides beneath the delicious, Gluten Free, crumble topping www.feastingisfun.com

What sends this Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble over the top, apart from my description, is the buttery, crunchy, flaked almond streusel, piled high, atop the juicy fruit.

And no additional sugar is added to the fruit layer. The pears are sweet enough and I think it is good to have bursts of sharpness, from the plump, purple, blackberries. To provide balance, crunchy, caramel, demerera sugar is mixed in with the crumble topping. Resulting in a pudding that absolutely sings!

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble pour over the cream and tuck in! www.feastingisfun.com
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble pour over the cream and tuck in! www.feastingisfun.com

Recipe: Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble serves 6 generous portions.

225g/8oz Gluten Free Flour – I use Dove’s Farm

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter – cold, straight from the fridge

225g/8oz Flaked Almonds

100g/4oz Demerera Sugar

1/4tsp Salt

3-4 Conference Pears

200g/7oz Fresh or Frozen Blackberries

Optional – Double Cream, Custard, Ice Cream to serve

Method: Preheat Oven to 190C/170C fan

First of all, cut the cold butter into cubes and place in a large bowl with the flour and salt.

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers, working quickly and lightly, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Gluten Free flour worked just as well as wheat flour in this recipe.
Gluten Free flour worked just as well as wheat flour in this recipe.

Alternatively place the cubed butter and flour into a food processor, with the steel blade attached and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the flaked almonds and demerera sugar and stir with a spoon to mix.

Crunchy crumble topping.
Crunchy crumble topping.

Peel the pears, remove the core and cut into chunks.

Place the pears and blackberries into a 10″/26cm dish.

Delicious pear and frozen blackberries.
Delicious pear and frozen blackberries.

Cover the fruit with the crumble mixture.

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble ready for the oven! www.feastingisfun.com
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble ready for the oven! www.feastingisfun.com

Place in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes until the topping is golden and the fruit juices are bubbling.

As soon as the Crumble is baked remove from the oven.

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble juicy, plump fruit, hides beneath the delicious, Gluten Free, crumble topping www.feastingisfun.com
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble juicy, plump fruit, hides beneath the delicious, Gluten Free, crumble topping www.feastingisfun.com

Serve immediately with the accompaniment of your choice.

Eat and enjoy!

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble just the comfort needed on a cold, winter's day www.feastingisfun.com
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble just the comfort needed on a cold, winter’s day www.feastingisfun.com

Everyone in our house thoroughly enjoyed this warming, winter pudding.

Being Gluten Free makes this Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble accessible to more people. Now I agree, that has got to be a good thing!

Do you desire warm, comforting food when it’s cold? I certainly do.

If you enjoy this Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble, then you will love these recipes:

Apple Almond Cake 

FF Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble
Autumn Almond Apple Cake – gluten free.

Amazing Apple Pie

FF Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble
Amazing Apple Pie with homemade Luxury Vanilla Bean Custard.

I buy Dove’s Gluten Free flour from Waitrose.

While I am not allergic to wheat, or gluten it is important that gluten free recipes are included on Feasting is Fun. Since the heart of my blog is to encourage people to share and eat together, it makes sense to create recipes that more people can enjoy. Because nobody asks to have an allergy. And it’s nice when an “extra” dessert doesn’t have to be bought or made. Finally, I believe the more that people are included, the more comfortable and relaxed they will be.

Sammie xx

 

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Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Ooh hello my lovelies, have I got a treat for you today? Yes of course I have and a dazzling one at that. Welcome to my Chocolate Sparkle Cake!

Chocolate Sparkle Cake as delicious as it is easy to make! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake as delicious as it is easy to make! www.feastingisfun.com

It’s ok you can read through once you’ve looked at all the photo’s – I would!!!

This cake was inspired by Bonfire Night ( November 5th if you’re not from the UK). Our children were being taken to an amazing fireworks party by my wonderful sister and brother-in-law, along with their cousins.

While they were out I wanted to make a cake, that on their return would make them say “Wow” and remind them of the fun they’d had.

Chocolate Sparkle Cake just look at the fudgey, soft, chocolate glaze and moist tender cake. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake just look at the fudgey, soft, chocolate glaze and moist tender cake. www.feastingisfun.com

It has to be chocolate:

So being our children meant this had to be a Chocolate Cake. I wanted a deep, chocolatey, moist cake, smothered in thick, glossy, chocolate ganache and then topped with as many sprinkles I could get my hands on.

Thus the Chocolate Sparkle Cake idea was formed in my head.

Chocolate Sparkle Cake slices beautifully, perfect for sharing. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake slices beautifully, perfect for sharing. www.feastingisfun.com

Knowing that I didn’t want a layer cake, it was important to ensure the cake itself was as moist as possible. Since adding cocoa to any batter has a drying effect, so to counter that I added sour cream.

I’d seen Ina Garten add it to many of her bakes and figured it was worth a try. Yep I was winging it yet again!

Oh my. I soo made the right decision. Because you cannot taste the sour cream in the baked cake, however, the baked cake has such a moist, tender crumb. This is one ingredient I will be experimenting with more, that’s for sure.

Chocolate Sparkle Cake it looks like a perfectly clear night sky with twinkling stars. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake it looks like a perfectly clear night sky with twinkling stars. www.feastingisfun.com

What really sends this cake over the top flavour-wise is the addition of liqueur to the chocolate ganache. I happened to have an unopened bottle of Chocolate Bailey’s Luxe. So I added some. Mmm another brilliant decision, I was truly on a roll!

I only used a small amount and it is totally fine to leave it out altogether. Our youngest is 13 years old so I was happy for him to have a very small, diluted amount.

I would say that this cake is both decadant and rich. All three of our children and all the adults loved it. I’m not sure if it’s richness would be enjoyed by younger children, even with the absence of liqueur?

Recipe : Makes 1 x 10″ Chocolate Sparkle Cake

For the cake:

275g/10oz Unsalted Butter at room temp.

150g/5oz Soft Light Brown Sugar

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

5 Large Eggs – I always use free range

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

100g/4oz Cocoa Powder

2.5tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Salt

200ml/7fl oz Full Fat Sour Cream

For the topping:

100g/4oz Dark Chocolate minimum 70% Cocoa

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate minimum 35% Cocoa

300ml/ 1/2 pint Double Cream

Optional – 2Tbsp Bailey’s Chocolate or Bailey’s liqueur

Assorted sprinkles, stars and ebible glitter dust

Method : Preheat the oven 170C/190C fan

Making the Cake:

First of all, butter the base and sides of a 10″ Springform cake tin. Line the base of the tin with baking parchment paper.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. These are your dry ingredients.

Crack all the eggs into a jug, add the vanilla extract and lightly beat with a fork to break up.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add one third of your dry ingredients and mix slowly, as they start to incorporate add half of your eggs. Continue mixing until all the ingredients are almost incorporated.

Repeat this step again.

Add the last of the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Be careful not to overmix, as the cake will be heavy.

Fold in the sour cream to the chocolate cake batter.

Delicious, moist, chocolate cake batter.
Delicious, moist, chocolate cake batter.
Fill the cake tin with batter and smooth the top.
Fill the cake tin with batter and smooth the top.

Place the cake tin in the middle of the oven and bake for 50 minutes.

The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If after 50 minutes the cake is still not fully baked, place back in the oven and re-check at 5 minute intervals.

As soon as the cake is baked remove the oven.

Don't worry about the small crack it will reduce and we are turning the cake over to frost!!
Don’t worry about the small crack it will reduce and we are turning the cake over to frost!!

Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the tin.

To remove, release the springform lever, remove the outer ring of the tin.

Place a cooling rack on top of the cake and invert.

The cake is now bottom side up on the cooling rack. Remove the tin base and gently peel off the baking parchment paper.

Place to one side and allow the cake to cool completely.

Making the topping:

Break or chop the chocolate into small chunks. Place in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (double boiler), ensuring the base of the bowl does not touch the water.

Add the cream. Stir.

Keep stirring the chocolate/cream until the chocolate has completely melted.
Keep stirring the chocolate/cream until the chocolate has completely melted.
Remove from the double boiler, add the liqueur and stir well. Set aside to cool and thicken.
Remove from the double boiler, add the liqueur and stir well. Set aside to cool and thicken.

The ganache is ready to use when it is thickened but still pourable (but not runny).

Chocolate Sparkle Cake - have your frosting and decorations ready and to hand before you start icing the cake. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake – have your frosting and decorations ready and to hand before you start icing the cake. www.feastingisfun.com
Once completely cool place the cake on a stand or board.
Once completely cool place the cake on a stand or board.
Chocolate Sparkle Cake pour the thickened ganache onto the top of the cake. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake pour the thickened ganache onto the top of the cake. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake gently smooth the ganache over the entire top of the cake and push over the sides so it drapes over the edge of the cake. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake gently smooth the ganache over the entire top of the cake and push over the sides so it drapes over the edge of the cake. www.feastingisfun.com

I tapped the cake stand a couple of times against the table, to release any air bubbles trapped in the ganache. As a result, the swirled effect at the bottom of the cake was a result of my tapping!

Decorating the Cake:

Chocolate Sparkle Cake now get sprinkling! I started with white chocolate stars and the smaller edible gold stars. www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake now get sprinkling! I started with white chocolate stars and the smaller edible gold stars. www.feastingisfun.com

Get creative, use whatever decorations you like. The ganache is so gloriously glossy it provides the perfect canvas.

I finished the cake with a dusting of holographic edible glitter.

Because more is more. Right??

Chocolate Sparkle Cake www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake www.feastingisfun.com

I almost called this Chocoale Sparkle Cake ‘Starry, starry night’ after one of my very favourite songs by Don McLean!

Such is the glossy, sparkly nature of this cake, as well as the moist, deep chocolate flavour, with a lingering background hit of Bailey’s, this could easily make a beautiful alternative to traditional Christmas cake.

When I look at this Chocolate Sparkle Cake it just screams ‘Party’! The perfect chocolate, celebration cake.

Chocolate Sparkle Cake www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Sparkle Cake www.feastingisfun.com

Everyone loved this cake and we also celebrated the safe arrival of a friend’s baby with a slice. Because it is a rich cake, a little goes a long way, meaning there is more to share.

It also kept really well in a cake tin for 5 days – yes it did last that long!!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Sparkle Cake you may also like these:

Black Forest Cupcakes 

FF Chocolate Sparkle Cake
Black Forest Cupcakes

Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies 

FF Chocolate Sparkle Cake
Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies

Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake

FF Chocolate Sparkle Cake
Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake

I love to celebrate special occasions with a cake. Do you?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie x

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