Today is Valentine’s Day and I have baked bread. While there is nothing unusual in that, I have baked bread with a bit of a difference. Since hearts abound on this day, more than most, I toyed with the idea of baking a heart shaped loaf. Practicality got the better of me. It always does! Unsure of how the finished loaf would be sliced I decided instead to create a heart pattern on a cob loaf. I share with you my Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf.
A lighter wholemeal style bread packed full of sunflower seeds, this loaf is as tasty as it is pretty. Since this loaf is baked without the use of steam. Usually a bowl or tray of water is placed in the base of the oven, allowing maximum oven spring before the crust sets. Yet in this case, as the dough is brushed with water prior to being baked, it expanded well, without any cracking. Resulting in a really crusty finish.
While on the theme of hearts, this bread is ‘Heart healthy’ too. Since the addition of one third wholemeal flour provides added fibre. Also sunflower seeds are high in polyunsturated oil and contain Vitamin E known for it’s anti inflammatory properties. Most of all for those who do not like the density of one hundred percent wholemeal loaves, this bread provides a healthy alternative.
Recipe: Sunflower Seed Heart Cob Loaf
350ml/12 floz Tap Water at room temperature
7g Dried Yeast – I use the green tin/sachets from Allinson
50g/2oz Sunflower Seeds plus extra for creating the heart
The method given uses a stand mixer to mix and knead the dough prior to proving. You may of course make the dough by hand.
First of all weigh the water into a bowl (of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment).
Add the dried yeast and honey to the water.
Next add both wholemeal and white bread flour.
Now add the salt and oil.
Lower the dough hook and mix on low speed for five minutes.
Add the sunflower seeds to the dough while mixing.
Increasing the speed for a further 5-10 minutes. To check if the dough is ready perform the windowpane test; stop the mixer, remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. When fully kneaded/mixed the dough will not tear and you will be able to see through it.
As soon as the dough is fully kneaded stop the mixer and lift up the dough hook. Scrape any dough from the hook into the bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a draught free place to prove until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out of the bowl on to a lightly floured worktop, the top of the dough should be at the bottom. So that it is in contact with the wotktop. Working around the outside, pull out the dough and then press into the centre. Continue 5-6 times pulling out and pressing in until you have a neat and tidy lump of dough. This process creates tension across the top (bottom at this point) of the dough.
Flip the dough over and use both hands to cup and shape the dough, turning it as you do so. Resulting in a round cob shaped loaf.
Place the shaped dough on to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to double in size in a draught free place.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7.
While the dough is undergoing it’s second prove make a heart stencil.
Fold a piece of A4 paper in half. Using scissors cut out half of a heart.
As soon as the dough has doubled in size brush the entire loaf with warm water.
Place the heart stencil over the dough.
Sprinkle sunflower seeds inside of the stencil and then lightly dab them with water using a pastry brush.
Remove the stencil.
Place the baking sheet into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.
The bread is baked when it has a deep, golden crust and sounds hollow when tapped.
As soon as the bread is baked remove from the oven and carefully (it will be very hot) place the cob loaf on to a cooling rack.
Delicious, crusty, nutty flavoured bread.
Allow the bread to cool prior to slicing and serving.
Ideally store the cooled bread in a bread bin. Plastic wrap or cling film may cause the bread to sweat and it will lose it’s crunchy crust and become soft.
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Bread baking is a passion that I have. Creating a tasty loaf that has flavour in it’s own right and is not simply a carrier of flavours makes the little effort it takes worthwhile. Our home is filled with the smell of freshly baked bread on an almost daily basis. If I could only bake one thing it would be bread. Wholesome, hearty, crusty and nutty this loaf ticked every single box. Bread truly is at the heart of any feast.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Cupcakes in themselves are moments of happiness. It must be impossible to be angry whilst eating a cupcake? An entire, miniature cake all to ourselves. Cute and delicious let me share with you these Pink Heart Topped White Chocolate Cupcakes.
Since Valentines Day is only a few days away, creating a beautiful and tasty cupcake seemed a good idea. While I have mentioned in previous posts such as Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies, that every day should be an opportunity to show those we love and appreciate them, February 14th is the day of love. So to celebrate, these white chocolate chip cupcakes frosted with a velvet white chocolate buttercream, finished with a pink chocolate heart, fit the bill perfectly.
As these delightfully light cupcakes are so pretty they are also perfect for parties, celebrations and of course to serve at a wedding. Because who wouldn’t want to receive one of these cute cupcakes?
Simple and easy to make, this recipe is designed so that novice bakers can follow and bake incredible cupcakes. Also the buttercream is piped without a nozzle, therefore deleting a need for more equipment. Since a plastic freezer bag can double as an icing bag, simply cut off one corner to leave a 1cm opening, this recipe really is for everyone.
Recipe: Pink Heart Topped White Chocolate Cupcakes makes 12
Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4
First of all, line a muffin tin wth 12 cupcake cases.
Place the butter, sugar and salt into a large bowl.
Whish together until pale and creamy.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the bowl. Also, sift the flour (and baking powder if using) into the same bowl.
Whisk the ingredients together adding milk as you whisk. Continue until the mixture is uniform in texture, avoid over mixing as this can cause a tough, baked cupcake.
Add the white chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
Spoon the cake batter into the cupcake cases, dividing it evenly between them.
Place the cupcakes in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.
The cupcakes are baked when they have risen, are golden in colour and spring back from a light touch. An inserted skewer or tooth pick will come out clean.
As soon as the cupcakes are baked remove from the oven.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then transfer them to a cooling rack.
While the cupcakes finish cooling make the buttercream.
Break up the white chocolate and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Heat on medium for 30 second bursts, stirring after. As soon as the white chocolate starts to melt remove from the microwave. Continue stirring until all of the chocolate has melted. Set to one side to cool slightly.
Place the butter and icing sugar into a bowl. Whisk until just combined.
Pour the melted white chocolate into the bowl and continue whisking, adding milk, a little at a time, to achieve a good piping consistency.
Place the piping bag, without a nozzle attached, into a large jug. The piping bag should have an opening of approximately 1cm.
Fill the piping bag with the white chocolate buttercream.
As soon as the cupcakes are cold they can be decorated.
Keeping even pressure on the piping bag pipe a double swirl on top of each cupcake.
Top each cupcake with a pink heart and add sugar balls if wanted.
The outside of the buttercream will set slightly. If adding sugar balls do so immediately after frosting the cupcakes.
Happiness is found in a delicious cupcake!
Serve the cupcakes to those you love and care about. Also share with those people you appreciate. While photographing the cupcakes our postman came to the door, he went away with a cupcake and a smile on his face.
Store these cupcakes for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Refrigerate during warm weather.
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Pink Heart Topped White Chocolate Cupcakes a simple recipe, available to all bakers regardless of skill level. Because, everyone should be able to create something beautiful and delicious to share with those they love. Even those who are too shy to say how they feel, or write it in a card, can make a cupcake that says it all. Who knows, baking a cupcake could break down awkwardness between someone and their secret love. Ah the romantic in me is running away with itself!
However you spend Valentines Day, I would like to thank each and every one of you who reads, comments and supports Feasting is Fun. You are very much appreciated, every single day of the year.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun creating and sharing your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Valentines Day is only couple of weeks away. Yet, although it is nice to take one day out of the year to tell those you care about how much they mean to you, I don’t believe that should be kept for just one day. Showing people that we love and appreciate them should be an everyday occurrence. Not the insincere gushing of some, who say the word love too easily and yet have not the slightest comprehension of what real love truly is. No, showing love in a quiet, sincere way. A gentle loving way, so as not to embarrass those we care about. A few encouraging words, a hug, or a small token, such as these Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies.
Since we are talking about love, did I mention how much everyone here at Feasting headquarters loves these cookies? Oh they do. Rich, buttery shortbread with thick, milk chocolate on one half. While these cookies are solid enough to be dunked in a hot drink, they also crumble beautifully on the tongue. Not just a Valentines Day bake!
Since I couldn’t find my collection of different size heart cookie cutters, my dear, late friend Pat, was here to help me. Amongst the baking items I had been given by her family was a perfect sized heart. Smaller than I had initially wanted for this recipe, it turned out to be the perfect size. Each cookie being exactly the right size.
Use whatever size cutter available to you. The recipe yielded 40 cookies using a 5cm x 5cm heart shape cookie cutter.
250g/9oz Plain White Flour – I use cake and pastry flour from Shipton Mill
300g/10.5g Milk Chocolate – I use 34% milk chocolate callets from Callebaut
Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4
First of all add the butter, caster sugar and salt to a large bowl.
Whisk together until fully combined, pale and creamy in appearance.
Add the vanilla extract and whisk again until combined.
Sift the plain flour and corn flour into the bowl together.
Using a spoon gently mix the ingredients until it comes together in clumps.
Wipe the worktop with a damp cloth and lay a large piece of cling film on to the damp surface; it will stick to the worktop.
With clean hands bring the dough together into a ball.
Place the shortbread dough on to the cling film and wrap into a disc shape.
Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment paper.
As soon as the dough is chilled remove from the fridge.
Knead lightly and then roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Roll to a thickness of 5mm.
Using a heart cookie cutter cut out the first batch of cookies. Placing them carefully on to the baking tray.
Because the dough is cold the cookies do not spread on baking, so they can be placed close together on the baking tray.
As soon as the baking trays are full place them into the middle and lower shelves of a preheated oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are a pale golden brown. Baking time will depend on the size and thickness of the cookies.
While the shortbread is baking gather together any remaining dough, wrap in cling film and chill.
Once baked remove from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then transfer the shortbread hearts to a cooling rack.
Allow the baking trays to cool completely.
Flip over the baking parchment on each tray and using the chilled dough proceed to roll out and cut out the cookies as before. Laying them on the baking trays and baking as before.
Cool the shortbread hearts completely before the next step.
Chop up the chocolate and place into a microwaveable, heatproof bowl.
Place in the microwave and heat on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each burst. As soon as the chocolate starts to melt remove the bowl and stir continuously until all of the chocolate has melted. An extra burst of heat in the microwave may be needed to ensure the chocolate is completely smooth.
Lay a long strip of baking parchment on to the worktop.
Take one shortbread heart at a time and hold on the opposite side that is to be dipped.
Carefully dip the shortbread into the melted chocolate, using a spoon (a long handled sundae spoon is ideal) to help cover one half of the cookie completely in chocolate.
Allow any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl, then place the chocolate dipped heart on to the baking parchment.
Continue this process until all of the cookies have one half completely dipped in chocolate. If necessary, halfway through the process, place the chocolate back into the microwave for a 20 second heating burst, to ensure the chocolate remains fluid enough to easily work with.
Once finished leave the chocolate to set completely on the cookies.
Store the finished shortbread hearts in an airtight container.
Share these cookies with those you love. Package a few in a small cellophane bag, tied with pretty ribbon and give as gifts.
Eat within 5 days, if they last that long!
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Showing appreciation and love in a way suited to the recipient is a gift in itself. A small thank you, or a handwritten note, even a text, sent in love is how we share our feelings with others. While not done for our benefit, it is good for us too. Even when the emotion felt is gratitude, not love, it is good to express thanks. Surely the gift of love is the best gift ever? See Important Stuff.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun creating your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Easter is nearly upon us. Shops are filled with fluffy bunnies, chocolate chicks and all manner of chocolate eggs. Amongst the vast selection, I found Galaxy Chocolate Golden Mini Eggs. Utterly perfect for decorating an Easter celebration cake. Such as this Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake.
Easter Sunday is the Christian celebration of new life. Although Jesus had died two days prior, hanging on a cross. When His friends went to visit Him the following Sunday, the tomb where He had been placed was empty. Shocked and outraged, one of the women spoke to the gardener, wanting to know where He had gone. The response came “Why look for the living among the dead.”
As the prophecies had foretold, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, had risen from the dead. He had overcome death. Forever. That we, may have life, in Him. Hence the chicks and eggs, bunnies and lambs in the shops, represent new life. Gold, for me on this cake, represents the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus. He who could not be contained by death. Even though He was brutally punished and died wearing a crown made from thorns. Is now alive, bearing the scars of death, yet as alive as you and I. Please see Important Stuff.
While celebrating over Easter, take a moment, to think about what it means to you. As you make and bake this cake, remember the love, His love, that He offers you. Even now, as Easter is treated as an extra holiday. Consider the real truth behind it. With Jesus their is always hope, without Him, who do you place your hope in?
If you do, what are your reasons for celebrating it?
Have fun making, baking and creating you feast.
Hawkshead Relish supplied me with a complimentary jar of Salted Chocolate Spread. This is not a sponsored post. All views, opinions, content including photographs are my own. The entire content of this post is covered by Copyright and I.P. laws. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Today it is Mother’s Day here in the U.K. A day where mums, aunts, grandmothers and other significant women in our lives are celebrated. My Grandma had a hugely positive input into my upbringing. Indeed it was at her apron strings that I learned the basic fundamentals of baking, that I still employ today. The day prior to any beach trip, picnic, or family celebration, she would be found, busy baking in the kitchen. I am certain she would enjoy these Fruit Filled Butter Scones.
Afternoon Tea may consist of small cakes, pastries, finger sandwiches and other sweet or savoury nibbles. Yet it is incomplete without the inclusion of delicious scones, clotted cream and jam. Also small plates are used as it is small portions that are served. Enough to keep you going until dinner, yet not enough to spoil the main meal later in the day.
Even young children, supervised by an adult of course, can easily make these scones. Also if you choose not to have clotted cream, these are light, not dry or claggy. So, perfect to eat unaccompanied. Since both the fat and sugar levels are fairly low, they can also be enjoyed by those watching their weight. As a result, these are an the ideal treat.
Did I mention that they take approximately half an hour from make to bake. What’s stopping you 😉?
Recipe: Fruit Filled Butter Scones makes 12 scones
165mls Buttermilk – alternatively add 1tsp/5mls of lemon juice to 160mls of milk and stir. Wait 5 minutes before using.
1 Free Range Egg plus one tablespoon of milk combined for the egg wash
Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7
Prior to starting line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
First of all, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. If using sea salt crumble straight into the bowl.
Next add in the cubed butter and rub into the flour, or cut into the flour using a pastry cutter. The mixture should resemble breadcrumbs with some pea sized lumps of butter present.
Now add in the caster sugar and mix lightly.
Make a well in the centre of the ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Follow by mixing with a butter knife 4-5 times.
Add the sultanas and bring the scone dough together with one hand.
Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured, clean surface.
Knead the dough lightly until it forms a disc. Gently roll out the disc until it is 2.5cm/1 inch thick.
Use a 4cm/just under 2 inch deep cutter to cut out the scones. Do not twist the cutter when pushing down, as this can affect the rise.
Place each cutout scone on to the lined baking tray.
Combine leftover scone dough pat out and cut out more scones. Continue until all of the dough has been used.
Brush the top of each scone with egg wash and then place in the top of the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes.
The scones are baked when they are golden, well risen and sound hollow when tapped on the base.
As soon as they are baked remove from the oven.
Transfer the scones on to a cooling rack.
Serve slightly warm or cold. Since these scones have sultanas in, they can be eaten as is, with butter or clotted cream. Also, fresh fruit is nice served alongside. Rather than one single tea, offer a selection, including fruit teas.
Most of all serve with a smile.
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Since creating the Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea for Steamer Trading, I have enjoyed creating small, bitesize treats. As well as being able to have a little taste of everything, afternoon tea is the perfect opportunity to share. Food, conversation, fun. Most importantly love and creating memories.
Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova a delicious crisp outer shell, with a deep, brownie-like inner, topped with whipped cream and chocolate dipped strawberries. I think this is the perfect dessert to share with those you love. And did I mention that it’s also Gluten Free!
I adore pavlova. Both making and eating it! This chocolate heart pavlova is so pretty and also easy to make. Simply follow the recipe and instructions and you too can bake this beautiful dessert.
Last week we celebrated Valentine’s Day. And I wanted to create something that would be perfect to share with those I love. That said, everything posted on Feasting is Fun, is designed to be shared! Since, hearts, strawberries, chocolates and flowers are all associated with February 14th, I wanted to incorporate as many of these as possible. Resulting in a beautiful and tasty dessert that should not be confined to one day of the year, in my opinion!
For this pavlova the heart is piped, with swirls around the outside, defining the heart shape. It is not difficult to do and creates a different, yet pretty finish, once baked. Also, this heart pavlova contains only cocoa, not chunks of chocolate, making it possible to pipe. Resulting in meringue mixture that resembles a light, airy mousse. Which, once baked keeps its shape perfectly. Yum!
I adore the way that whipped double cream tops the chocolate pavlova, rather like a down duvet covers a bed. Moulding and fitting to the contours. Creating a soft, velvety contrast to the crisp and fudgey pavlova. Chocolate dipped strawberries add the final touch of decadence, crowning this dessert with their contrasting colours.
One mouthful of this delightful dessert and you are lost to the complimenting flavours and contrasting textures. Fortunately, one serving provides plenty of time to fully appreciate this beautiful pavlova. However, I wont tell if you go back for seconds!
Method: Preheat the oven to 200/180C fan, gas mark 6
Making the meringue:
Prior to starting ensure the bowl used to mix the meringue is scrupulously clean. Wipe around the inside of the bowl with half a lemon to ensure no fat is present. The presence of fat, or oil will stop the egg whites from whipping up and incorporating air.
Also line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Draw a large heart on the reverse of the parchment with pencil, approximately 25cm wide by 27.5cm high, 10″w x 11″h.
First of all, pour the egg whites into the large clean, prepared bowl.
Whisk until the egg whites hold a stiff peak.
Continue whisking on high, adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. The meringue should be white and glossy, holding a stiff peak. Rub a little of the meringue between your finger and thumb, it should feel smooth. If at all gritty, continue whisking, as not all of the sugar is dissolved into the egg white. Continue until the mixture is smooth.
While the egg whites are whisking fit a large piping ba with a large, open star nozzle, I useWilton #1M.
Once the meringue has been whisked sift in the corn flour and cocoa. Then add the balsamic vinegar.
Using a large, clean, metal spoon fold all of the ingredients together carefully. Taking care not to knock out the air that has been whisked into the egg whites.
Place four dots of meringue in the corners of the baking tray, then place the baking parchment on top. This will hold the baking parchment in place.
Creating the heart shape and baking the Pavlova:
Place a large spoonful of chocolate meringue into the centre of the heart. Spread the meringue with a palette knife, so that it fills the heart outline. There is no need to be too precise as it will be piped over.
Fill the piping bag with the remaining chocolate meringue.
Pipe swirls around the outline of the heart, leaving the bottom point and the top dip until last. Pipe a swirl at the bottom of the heart and then the top dip. Next pipe stars, inside the heart, on the base.
Place the pavlova into the centre of the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 160C/140C gas mark 3. Do not open the oven door whilst baking!
Bake for 1 hour exactly. After the baking time has elapsed turn the oven off and open the oven door a fraction, so that the pavlova cools slowly. I place a wooden spoon between the door and the oven.
Chocolate covered strawberries
While the pavlova is cooling the strawberries can be prepared. Into separate, small heatproof, microwaveable bowls, break up and add the milk and white chocolate, separately. Heat for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the melted white chocolate into a small piping bag.
Select 10 of the biggest strawberries and leave their tops on. Dip 5 of the large strawberries into the milk chocolate, using a teaspoons to help fully cover them. Place the dipped strawberries on to some baking parchment. Tip – if the strawberries are kept in the fridge until needed they will be chilled. This will help the chocolate set quickly.
Next pipe lines across the 5 chocolate covered strawberries and also the 5 un-dipped ones, thisgluten free recipe also uses chocolate strawberries. Leave to set on the baking parchment. In warm weather place in the fridge for a couple of minutes.
Filling and decorating
When the pavlova has completely cooled it can be removed from the oven.
Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk until it has thickened but is not stiff.
Gently run a palette knife under the pavlova to loosen it from the baking parchment. Place the pavlova on to a flat plate, or stand from which it is to be served.
Spoon the cream inside the shell of the pavlova.
Arrange the chocolate dipped strawberries on the top of the cream, removing the tops if necessary.
I chopped the remaining strawberries into fairly small pieces and sprinkled them around the whole strawberries.
Finally all that is needed is someone to share this stunning dessert with!
Serve sliced, ensuring each portion has a chocolate strawberry.
This Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova is at its best eaten on the day assembled. Although the pavlova can be made the day before and left to cool, overnight in the oven. The strawberries can be prepared 4 hours ahead and left in a cool place or placed in the fridge. Likewise the cream can be prepared at the same time as the strawberries and left in the fridge, it may need a quick whisk to bring it back to the consistency required.
The Pavlova will last, covered in foil, in the fridge for 2 days after assembly.
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Importantly, all of my pavlova recipes on this blog are gluten free. Making them a suitable dessert for more people. Ensure that the corn flour used in each recipe is certified gluten free.
Since it is in my nature to be as inclusive as possible, serving a naturally gluten free dessert to friends and family ensures that everyone feels special. Likewise, no one can feel that they have been ‘too much bother’ due to any dietary limitations they may have. Resulting in a relaxed, enjoyable meal and atmosphere.
Have fun creating, making, cooking and baking in your kitchens.
In an ideal world, all food consumed by myself and our family would be homemade. Reality dictates that is not feasible. Yet certain products, made with natural ingredients make that dream, a step closer. For example the lemon curd used in my Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars, tastes as good, if not better than that made at home. Resulting in a delicious recipe, made one stage easier by a product already available.
Creating a bake that is sturdy enough to withstand transport in a school backpack or briefcase can have its challenges. Yet, a sturdy, buttery, shortbread base ensures these bars remain intact during transit. Since hubby does not always have time for a set lunch break, knowing he has something he can munch with a coffee makes me happy. Of course, he functions better when his energy is topped up too.
There are a variety of traybakes here, on Feasting is Fun, including Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars and Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks. Some considered more ‘healthy’ than others. With respect, anything cooked at home, using good quality ingredients and made with love, is, in my opinion far better than a mass produced product with a shelf life of months!
Biting into a bar really is a taste and texture sensation for your tongue and tastebuds. Each blueberry, when baked, turns into its own little pod of jam. Yet without the added sweetness of preserves. The cake layer, moist and light contrasts beautifully with the tang of lemon and defined shortbread base. Resulting in a complete mouthful of joy with each bite.
Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars makes 12
Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3
Line a 20cm x 28cm x 5cm (8″ x 11″ x 2″) tin with baking parchment, ensuring the parchment is higher than the sides of the tin. The tin does not need to be greased first.
Making the Shortbread Base:
Place the softened butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk or beat until the mixture is pale and creamy.
Next, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
Now sift the flour into the bowl and then, using a spoon gently mix all the ingredients until they just come together.
Spoon the shortbread mixture into the lined tin and then press into an even layer using your fingers. Use a fork to prick holes, known as docking, into the shortbread. This allows any steam to escape and create a golden base.
Place the tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Until the top is just turning golden.
While the shortbread is baking make the sponge topping – see below for instructions.
Once baked remove the shortbread from the oven. It is important to note that the shortbread is not fully cooked at this point.
Making the Sponge Topping
While the shortbread is baking the cake batter can be made.
Into a large bowl, as before, add the butter and sugar. Whisk/beat until pale and creamy.
Next add the two eggs and continue whisking until the mixture is completely combined.
Now sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl. Then add the blueberries and the lemon zest.
Using a metal spoon, fold the ingredients together gently, to minimise breaking up the blueberries. Set to one side.
Assembling the Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Once the shortbread base is baked allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then spoon over the lemon curd, spreading so that it covers the base, yet doesn’t quite reach the edges.
Spoon over the cake batter. Dolloping it fairly evenly across the base. Finally, gently spread the batter so that it covers the base. Pay particular attention to the edges. Aiming to seal in the lemon curd, by ensuring the cake batter is in contact with the shortbread around the entire edge.
Place the tin back into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The lower and longer baking results in an even bake with a flat surface.
The Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars are baked when the top is golden in colour and is firm to touch. Once baked remove the tin from the oven and set to one side to allow to cool completely.
When completely cooled, remove the entire traybake from the tin. A fish slice or large palette knife is useful. Ease the knife under the bake, using it to lift and support as you move the traybake to a flat surface.
Using a sharp knife cut halfway through the width of the bake. Wipe the knife between each cut, this avoids spoiling the bake.
Following this first cut, now cut downwards, dividing the bake into four equal quarters.
Finally, cut each quarter into three equal sized bars.
The lemon curd is perfect in these bars.
Serve the Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars with a cup of tea, on some cheerful china, with a smile.
Store in an airtight container. They will keep for 4 days. During warm weather, storing in the fridge is advised.
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Baking and cooking good, wholesome food for my family is very important to me. It truly is one of the ways that I show them my love. Knowing in the middle of a busy day that my hubby has something made with love, by me, to help him through. Well, it doesn’t get better than that when we are apart from each other. The oohs and aahs as each family member returns at the days end, to the comforting kitchen aromas, ensures they know that they are truly home.
Love, inquisitiveness and creating are the main motivational factors behind all of my cooking. What are yours?
Some days you have to bake love into your day. Whether that means actually getting in the kitchen and physically baking, or metaphorically adjusting yourself – literally putting on love. Today, as the results of the 2016 United States of American presidential election were revealed, I had to do both. First of all, I had to pray, give all my fears to God and accept His peace, then I made myself bake. More specifically, bake these Red Velvet Mini Tiered Heart Cakes.
Oh these cakes are so good. Since making these cupcakes , I’ve wanted to try another red velvet recipe. Having recently bought the tiered heart mini Bundt pan from Sugar andCrumbs and considering the shock I, along with many others were in this morning, it seemed the perfect tin to use. A visual reminder that pure love always overcomes fear, no matter how frightened we may become.
Perfectly detailed, these tiered heart cakes taste ridiculously good. If you are in a bad mood these cakes will cheer you up. Their deep chocolate flavour, in a rich, fudgey cake, pairs beautifully with fresh berries. Truthfully the red, white and blue theme was planned. Representing the colours of the American flag and what their constitution stands for. While praying, baking and then photographing these cakes, I could feel the worry and fear lift from me.
The relief of being able to hand over my worries and fears to our Awesome Heavenly Father is immeasurable. To know that He abides by His written word, which states in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear…”
Recipe: Red Velvet Mini Tiered Heart Cakes makes 12
Note: To grease the individual cake moulds I recommend Wilton cake release.
150g/5oz Unsalted Butter softened to room temperature
Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3.
First of all, it is important to prepare the Bundt pan correctly. Spray or pour cake release into each mould. Use a pastry brush to ensure every part of the cake mould is covered. Because this mould is very detailed, it needs care taking over this stage.
Next, into a large bowl add the sugar, butter and salt. Whisk/beat these ingredients together until they are pale and creamy. This is known as the ‘creaming’ method.
Next add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract and food colouring. Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder.
Using a spoon or electric whisk, mix all of the ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined. This is know as the ‘all in one’ method.
To fill the individual cake moulds, carefully spoon the red velvet cake batter into the mould so that it is three quarters full. Continue until all six moulds are equally filled.
Now place the Bundt pan in the centre of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
The cakes are baked when they spring back from a light touch, alternatively insert a wooden cocktail stick (so that it doesn’t damage the pan) and if it come out clean the cakes are done.
Once baked, remove the cake pan from the oven.
Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning them out on to a cooling rack.
While allowing to cool you could make some Boozy Berry Sauce, to serve with these cakes. Alternatively some fresh berries and whipped cream, turn these pretty cakes into a stunning dessert. Also a light dusting with icing sugar shows up these cakes incredible detail.
A truly tasty recipe that is versatile!
If you have enjoyed these Red Velvet Mini Tiered Heart Cakes you may also like these:
Finally, change can be unsettling for everyone. Interestingly, in the bible, the words “do notfear” and “fear not” feature very frequently. Jesus did not come to promise us a life that was all plain sailing. Clearly not! Since He knew there would be circumstances and situations that would cause us to worry. The key is to hand that anxiety to Him in prayer and in turn accept His Peace, which surpasses our understanding.
Ultimately, not worrying, is, in my experience an active ongoing experience. Rather like forgiveness, sometimes we have to keep forgiving, likewise we also need to continue to hand all things to God in prayer. Giving thanks for all He has brought us through and trusting Him to see us through again.
If you would like to know more about my Christian faith please see Important Stuff.
I’m going to let you into a secret, I absolutely love a surprises. Especially when it involves cake. So I made this Heart EngagementBundt Cake in complete secrecy, for a couple who had recently become engaged.
It was so much fun making this clandestine cake!
As the couple had been away, when they got engaged, we wanted to mark the occasion with a small celebration for family and friends. I offered to make the cake as I have a Tiered Heart Bundt Tin by Nordic Ware that I had still not baked with.
As I have never made a tiered, or stacked cake, this beautiful cake tin seemed the perfect choice. At the time of deciding to use this tin I had absolutely no idea how I would decorate or ice it. I’m big on planning NOT! Can you tell?
Fortunately I have a lovely friend, who I met on Twitter, called Tom. He has his own business Iced Rainbow where he makes absolutely beautiful jewellery. Happily for me, Tom is also a keen baker and creates the most beautiful cake toppers. It really is worth taking a look at his website.
After discussion with the parents of the happy couple, I decided to opt for a personalised bunting topper. Due to the shape of the cake and the heart shaped hole in the middle, I thought it would not only look pretty, but also add height to the cake.
Tom was brilliant. He took my vision for how I wanted the bunting to look and turned it into a reality. Thank you Iced Rainbow for making my dreams a reality and for making the bunting at such short notice!
Next I had to decide on the flavours. Sugar and Crumbs sell a range of naturally flavoured icing sugars, amongst other baking ingredients and equipment. After much secret discussion, we decided to keep the cake plain, flavoured only with vanilla and use Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple flavoured icing. I was very happy as it is one of my personal favourites.
I still hadn’t decided how I was going to ice the cake!
After having such success with glazing my Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake I was tempted to do the same with the Heart Engagement Bundt Cake.
As you can see I decided to pipe raspberry ripple buttercream icing onto the cake. Aside from cupcakes this is only the second time I have fully covered a cake with piped buttercream. It wasn’t as scary as I had imagined!
The beauty of buttercream is that, if you do make a mistake, it can fairly easily be removed and piped over. I tell you this from experience 😉.
When deciding what pattern to pipe onto the cake, I knew I wanted to pipe swirled roses on the top. As for the sides, I really didn’t decide until I had the cake in front of me, piping bag in hand!
Once the roses were piped I decided to go with the lines of the cake and piped the second tier in fairly straight lines. Again I did the same for the bottom tier, although as this was not as deep, it looks like piped stars. I finished the top tier with piped stars to define the heart and fill in any gaps. All the piping was carried out using a Wilton #1M large star tip.
While it was great having a vision in my head of how the cake could look, once the bunting was in place, the finished version was so much better than I ever could have hoped for. A final sprinkle of tiny, pink, pearlised hearts and white, edible glitter and the Heart Engagement Bundt Cake was ready for the grand reveal.
The happy couple, Matt and Tash absolutely loved the surprise. Neither of them had any idea that this little surprise had been planned especially for them. They loved the cake and bunting, which was a huge relief for me! Together they enjoyed cutting the cake, good practice for their upcoming wedding and enjoyed eating it too.
I removed the bunting and packaged it back up, for them to keep and treasure forever. When all the cake has gone, they still have their personalised bunting from Tom at Iced Rainbow.
Recipe: Makes one Heart Engagement Bundt Cake – serves 20 people.
To make this cake you will need the Tiered Heart Bundt Tin made by NordicWare.
Method: Preheat the oven to 165C/150C fan, gas mark 3
Into a large bowl add the butter and sugar and whisk/beat for 5 minutes until very pale and creamy.
Add the vanilla extract and whisk/beat for a further 2 minutes.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl – dry ingredients.
Add one third of your dry ingredients and 2 eggs to your butter/sugar mixture. Whisk/beat until just incorporated.
Repeat the last step.
Add the final third of dry ingredients and 2 eggs and mix by hand. Ensuring the bottom of the bowl is scraped, so that all of the ingredients are just combined.
Spray your tiered heart Bundt tin with cake release spray, ensuring it covers all areas inside the tin.
Spoon the cake mix into the Bundt tin, ensuring the batter is pushed into all parts of the tin, using a spoon.
Place the Bundt tin into the middle of the preheated oven and cook for approximately an hour.
The cake is cooked when it is golden brown, coming away from the sides of the tin and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Once cooked remove the cake from the oven.
After cooling in the tin for 10 minutes turn the cake out onto a cooling rack.
Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.
To make the buttercream:
Place the very soft butter into a large bowl.
Sift both the flavoured and plain icing sugars into the same bowl.
Add 3 tablespoons of very hot water from a kettle.
Starting on a low speed whisk all the ingredients together. Add the extra tablespoon of hot water if the buttercream is too stiff. Continue whisking at a higher speed until the buttercream is pale and creamy.
Fit a large Wilton #1M star piping nozzle to a large disposable piping bag.
Using a small brush, or the blunt end of a wooden skewer dipped into the pink piping gel, paint a line of colour on one side (inside) of the piping bag. You may have to dip the skewer into the gel again to finish the line.
Repeat this step on the opposite side. This is what gives the piping the ‘ripple effect’ and works especially well with the raspberry ripple flavoured icing.
Fill the piping bag with buttercream.
To decorate the cake:
Start by piping a small rose, on top of the cake, either side of the heart dip.
Pipe a rose at the bottom point of the heart.
Pipe 2 more roses on each side of the heart, so that they very slightly overlap.
Next starting from the bottom of the second tier, pipe lines up, to meet the edge of the top tier. Continue all the way round the cake ensuring that a line is piped at the bottom point of the heart.
Continue in the same manner for the bottom tier, although I was able just to pipe a large star – as my bottom tier was a little short. The recipe has been adjusted to counter this.
Finish by piping a star in between the 2 roses at the top of the heart. Fill in any gaps around the edge of the top tier with piped stars.
Sprinkle over glitter and pearlised hearts.
Now stand back and admire the beautifully stunning Heart Engagement BundtCake that you have created – ooh and take a gazillion photographs.
It was a beautifully sunny day and I took advantage of the glorious light in our porch. It really is so hard to capture how sparkly this cake twinkled in the sunlight. The light danced of off the glittery icing and was mesmerising to look at.
This Heart Engagement Bundt Cake had one very important ingredient that is not listed, love. My husband walked in and saw me smiling as I was writing up this post. When he asked what I was smiling about, I told him that I was remembering the look of love, between Matt and Tash in the photos I have of them. Because I respect their privacy I would not show you here.
To me this cake was so much more than Heart Engagement Bundt Cake, it was a symbol of their deep love for each other and our love for the two of them, as a couple, starting their journey of being together forever.
This post is dedicated to them. May they have a long, happy, healthy life together and long may they continue to bring happiness to those who are part of their lives.
May true love always be celebrated.
Baking and decorating this cake was such an enormous pleasure, have you ever made a cake, or something else, that made you smile?
For all you true romantics, like myself, if you have enjoyed this beautiful Heart Engagement Bundt Cake here are some others that will make you smile:
I am so pleased that Matt and Tash gave me permission to share this cake with you. Also I hope you have enjoyed this post? I love seeing what cooking and baking you get up to. If you are on Twitter or Instagram please pop a photo up and I’ll be sure to give you a shout out or retweet.
This Strawberry Sweetheart Cake was baked for my wonderful Hubby, for Valentine’s Day. Vanilla flavoured sponge, split in two with a slathering of strawberry jam in the middle, sealed with buttercream roses.
Is there a better way to say those three precious words ‘I Love You’ than with cake??
Since I’ve baked and created a few chocolate recipes for Valentine’s Day like Chocolate Heart Cookies, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites which are utterly delicious, for the day itself I wanted to bake a cake with simple flavours. Sugar and Crumbs sell are range of naturally flavoured icing sugars and I used the Strawberry Milkshake to make the buttercream that decorates this cake. The taste is truly like strawberry milkshake and makes this cake absolutely sing on your tastebuds. Alternatively you can use plain icing sugar and flavour it. Foodie Flavours sell a great range of natural food flavourings.
I absolutely promise you that the piped roses are not difficult. If I, with my wobbly hands can pipe them, you can too. The effect of the roses gives this Strawberry Sweetheart Cake a very professional finish – only you and I will know how easy it really is.
Piping buttercream roses:
First of all fit a large star tip (I used a Wilton 1M piping tip) to your piping bag and fill with the buttercream. Practice on a clean plate first. Imagine writing get the letter e, when you get to the end of the e you contine round in a complete circle. It is that easy!! A few practices, keeping the pressure on your piping bag steady and you will have piped roses! This cake is only the second time I have piped these roses! The first time was these Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes.
I will admit that piping the roses around the sides was a bit harder. So I piped either side of the heart first and once I’d got the hang of it piped the final rose on the point of the heart. Using the same tip, I piped little stars in between the roses to fill in any gaps and then defined the heart by piping stars all the way around the top edge.
A sprinkle of sparkle:
Glitter, shiny hearts and more heart sprinkles finished this cake off beautifully. At least that’s what my hubby thought and this cake was made especially for him!
Baking for my family, as I’ve mentioned before, is one way I like to show them my love. This past year has been very hard on us all, due to my seizures (see here). Especially my hubby, who has looked after not only me, but our three gorgeous children, as well as holding down a demanding, full time job. Wanting to show my love for him on this particular day was very important to me and as a family, we all get to eat the cake, my way of saying thank you and I Love You all.
Recipe: Makes One Strawberry Sweetheart Cake serves 20
250g/9oz Caster Sugar
250g/9oz Unsalted Butter – at room temp.
1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste or Vanilla Extract
250g/9oz Plain White Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
6 Large Eggs – I always use free range
200g/7oz Strawberry Jam
Assortment of sprinkles and edible glitter
For the buttercream
500g/1lb 2oz Strawberry Milkshake Icing Sugar – or alternatively use plain icing sugar and add your own flavouring to taste.
250/9oz Unsalted Butter very soft
2tbsp Boiling Water
Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan – this cake is cooked low and slow.
Making the cake:
First of all butter and line the base of a heart shaped tin with baking parchment. If the tins are shallow split the mixture, so that it comes half way up your cake tin.
Into a large bowl add the butter and sugar.
Whisk until pale and fluffy – 5 minutes.
Add the vanilla and whisk to combine.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into another bowl (dry ingredients).
Add one third of the dry ingredients and 3 eggs.
Whisk slowly until combined.
Repeat using one third of the dry mixture and 3 eggs.
Whilst whisking slowly add the final third of the dry mixture.
Remove the whisk and give the bowl a thorough mix using a soft spatula, ensuring all the ingredients are well combined.
Baking the cake:
Place the cake tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour 15 – 30 minutes.
The cake is baked when it is golden brown, springs back from a light finger press and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Place the cake tin on a large trivet or cooling rack.
Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.
Filling and decorating the cake:
Once the cake is completely cold, tip out of the cake tin and place on a cake stand or board, so that the flat bottom is uppermost.
Slice the cake in half.
Lay the uppermost half on a spare board.
Spread the strawberry jam over the bottom half so that it doesn’t quite reach the edge.
Sing a spoon spread jam on to the bottom half of the cake.
Making the buttercream:
Place the very soft butter into a large bowl.
Sift in the flavoured, or plain, icing sugar into the bowl and add 2 tablespoons of boiling water (add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, or th required amount of flavouring, if not using flavoured icing).
Starting slowly, whisk the ingredients together, increasing the speed as the icing sugar becomes fully incorporated.
Continue whisking for 5 minutes, this will ensure the icing is smooth and light.
Fit a large icing bag with a large star tip.
Finally, fill the icing bag with whpiped buttercream.
Icing the Strawberry Sweetheart Cake:
Start with the surface of the cake and pipe a rose swirl at the top, where the dip in the heart is.
Continue piping rose swirls symmetrically, either side, of the heart.
Finish with a rose swirl at the bottom point of the heart.
For the sides, start at the top of the heart bump, on one side and pipe rose swirls around one side and then the other, leaving the bottom point.
Go back to the top of the heart and pipe one rose in the heart dip and and additional rose to fill in between the two roses.
Repeat on the other side.
Now pipe a rose swirl on the bottom point of the heart.
Pipes stars wherever there are gaps and visible pieces of cake on the top and sides, trying to keep the pattern symmetrical – especially on the top of the cake.
Also pipe stars on the top of the cake around the heart outline.
Now you can sprinkle away. I firstly gave this beautiful cake a good dusting of white edible glitter and then sprinkled two different styles of hearts over it.
Place the cake somewhere cool to set for a couple of hours. This cake spent the night in our porch, since it was particularly chilly February evening.
Because of the addition of boiling water into the buttercream mixture, this buttercream will not develop a hard crust. As this not only improves the texture whilst eating the cake, but also means that the buttercream is a dream to slice through!
This Strawberry Sweetheart Cake will keep in an airtight container, for up to 5 days, if left somewhere cool – I would advise keeping it in the fridge during the summer. Although having just eaten a slice, I can’t imagine this cake hanging around for long, especially in our house!!
Because making this cake is so beautifully easy, it would be perfect for birthdays, engagements, anniversaries and maybe even small weddings. You can easily tint the buttercream with food colouring. I used Sugarflair and Wilton edible food colouring gels. You really only need a tiny (tip of a cocktail stick) amount to produce a beautiful pastel shade.
Will you give the rose piping a go?
On Twitter there is a wonderful lady known as the Baking Nanna @kuskus1. She has a short video pinned to the top of her Twitter page showing how to pipe these roses. I thoroughly recommend watching it!
Whatever you are doing, whether alone or with others, I hope that you know you are loved, see Important Stuff.
If you have enjoyed this Strawberry Sweetheart Cake, then you may also like these:
While I ove baking, I also recognise that I am not the world’s best cake decorator. Yet with a little practice I have perfected, the very “on trend” piped rose technique. There is truth in the saying “A little practise goes a long way.” Especially when seeing the finished results and the delight on the recipient’s face when presented with a stunning cake. Most importantly for me is the love that goes into making, baking and decorating a cake.
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