Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Strawberry cream queen cakes

Strawberries mean summer for me. And these dinky darlings have become a classic for special summer tea parties on the lawn.

These are a grown-up take on the British classic of childhood, butterfly cakes. Think basic fairy cakes - with magical cakey wings - which just makes them taste even more special! Be warned - kiddies love them too!

Make these at the last minute so that the cream doesn't melt and the strawberries are at their best.

Makes 16

12 hole muffin tin and 6 hole muffin tin with 16 paper cases
Preheat oven to 170C

270g plain flour
240g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
110g soft butter
240ml full fat milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

200 ml cream - whipped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp icing sugar, sieved

4 tbsp strawberry jam

150g fresh strawberries, sliced

icing sugar for dusting

With a handheld electric whisk mix the butter into the flour, baking powder and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the milk, egg and vanilla. Whisk for 2 mins until well combined. It will look much runnier than a normal cake mix! Divide between 12 fairy cake cases. Bake for 15-20 min - keep a careful eye on these, they need to be light golden and springy. They will be dry if they get to the dark golden stage.

Leave in the tin for 5 mins then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Leave for at least 40 mins until quite cool to the touch.

When they are cool, whip the cream, add the vanilla and icing sugar.

Cut off the tops (carefully!!) so that they are flat. Then cut this piece into two - these are the wings. With a teaspoon dig out a small hole, (removing just a teaspoonful of cake)- this is not needed and can be eaten as you go!!!

Then either with a piping bag (if you're confident with them) or a teaspoon, add a 1/4 tsp of strawberry jam in the bottom of the hole, then a heaped teaspoonful of cream, then 3-4 slices of strawberry- making sure that the outer, seeded sides of the strawberry are showing - then perhaps a little more cream, enough to carefully stick the wings into - they need to be placed curved sides up, baked sides in.

Do them all, then dust with a little icing sugar. Eat straight away or keep cool in the fridge.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Perfect Pecan Choc Chip Cookies

Pecan nuts and chocolate are a classic combination. In our house the kids hate nuts so I make half a batch with and half without.

I realised that I have been focusing on cakes on the blog - when in reality about 50% of my baking is cookies. A strange oversight you might think. But the reality is, photographing cookies is tricky... and they tend not to last long enough (in our house) anyway!

But that stops here - I am famous for my cookies - so here's MY recipe (with a picture that someone else took!!)
Image: smittenkitchen.com

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Banana and ginger cake - low fat cake!

Low fat cake seems an oxymoron. But here we have it. A soft, moist cake where the banana and buttermilk mean a reduction of 50% of the butter and 25% of the sugar. Great for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. Keeps well for a week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Vanilla cupcakes

Friends will recognise these from my daughter's recent fairy princess birthday party where they were set upon by a throng of polyester-clad, four-year-old princesses-in-training!

This is my standard cupcake recipe which we make at least once a week. It is quick to whip up (even with little helpers) if you have friends calling round. They keep well (if you don't eat them!!) and are as light as a fairy to eat, and pretty to the eye! If you ice with a water icing they are much lower in fat than a normal cupcake. We tend to use a water icing on a day-to-day basis as the cakes don't have to be completely cold before you ice them.

The original recipe (which I have adapted) comes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book.


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