Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Easter Rocky Road Recipe

Make, Do and Push!: Cake Week 2013

So my first ever recipe blog post.  Although I've called this 'Easter Rocky Road' it is a bit more cakey than traditional rocky road.  My mum used to make it when we were little and we called it "Marshmallow Martians"  - don't ask me why, as I haven't a clue! I'm not sure where the recipe originates from as my mum has it written on a scrap of paper - I'll happily acknowledge the original recipe if somebody knows where it is!

 I have swapped in a few Easter yummies and swapped out the nuts (which in the original recipe was in place of the mini eggs and half the amount).  My mum gave me the amounts in ounces and I have given equivalent grams as well.  After seeing that the lovely Hannah was having a Cake Week on her blog 'Make, Do & Push', I just had to share the recipe.

Easter Rocky Road

14oz / 1 tin of condensed milk
8oz / 225g caster sugar
4oz / 115g plain flour
1oz / 30g coco powder
4oz / 115g butter
6oz / 170g of mini eggs
5oz / 140g biscuit
1 tsp of vanilla essence
6oz / 170g of marshmallows (I used the big ones rather than the mini ones)
100g mini creme eggs

1. Line a brownie tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Add the following to a large saucepan:
14oz / 1 tin of condensed milk
8oz / 225g caster sugar
4oz / 115g plain flour
1oz / 30g coco powder
4oz / 115g butter

3. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring continuously.

4. Cook for 1 minute.

5. Allow to cool and chop the marshmallows in half whilst you wait.

6. Add the following yummies and mix lightly:
6oz / 170g of mini eggs (this is in place of the 3oz of nuts in the original recipe)
5oz / 140g biscuit
1 tsp of vanilla essence
6oz / 170g of marshmallows 

7. Pour into the prepared tray and push halved mini creme eggs into the top.

8. Leave to set in the fridge.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Cake Pops!

I bought my Cake Pops book two Christmases ago and hadn't quite plucked up enough courage to have a go at making them.  After volunteering to bake something yummy for my brother and his girlfriend's goodbye tea party and the only request was 'something small', I decided the time had come to make some Cake Pops.

I had already bought a half sphere silicone tray, as even with my sweet tooth I didn't like the idea of a cake and icing mixture that you had to roll yourself and thought this ready made mini half cake pops would be the way forward.  I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe from Rachel Allen's Bake - as it is a rather firm and chocolatey cake.  As I only had a half sphere mould, I experimented with putting different amounts of mixture in the cases - it turned out that overfilling the half spheres was the best way, as the top could be levelled off before sticking together to make a whole sphere.

Overfilled half spheres

Cake Pops assembled!
I tracked down some candy melts in Hobbycraft and used it to stick the halves together  before securing the sticks in the balls.  Then I had to wait for it all to set - sped up this bit by creating space in the fridge and popping them in whilst I had a cuppa.  As the icing sets very quickly, I only did a small bowlful at one time, rather than melting the whole bag. Although don't let water get anywhere near the melted candy melts as everything congeals and sets rock hard!
The best method of covering was to dunk the cake pop in (using a mini spatula to cover any gaps if getting near the end of the mixture!) and pull straight out again.  Gently rotate the cake pop gently tapping your wrist of the hand holding the cake pop with the other hand to get rid of excess.  If you twizzle and tap the cake pop directly on to the bowl, icing mixture goes everywhere and the cake pop is highly likely to fall off the stick!  I then covered in hundreds and thousands before sticking in a slab of polystyrene to set - again helped along by the fridge.

I also made my own cake pop stand using a small cereal box which I stuffed with the polystyrene.  I used a bread knife to cut it to size - works fairly well, although be prepared for statically charged bits sticking to every surface! After the cereal box had been stuffed and the end taped up, I wrapped the box in some pretty wrapping paper and poked holes in the top with a knitting needle.  When creating the holes, make sure that you know how big your cake pops are, in order to measure how far apart you need to punch the holes.   

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Allotment Baby Knits

A while ago I sent a lovely parcel off to a friend who had just had twins - I didn't want to spoil the surprise, so I've waited to post this until I knew she had definitely received it.  I rather enjoyed this baby knitting project - as I had not one but two babies to knit for!  I decided to have a theme of allotments, as I know that they have a flourishing allotment and the babies would need to be wrapped up snugly to watch the digging and tending of the vegetables.

So I spent an afternoon (okay, maybe two or three) trawling Ravelry and finding vegetable themed hats - there are loads! However as I didn't know the sex of the babies, I decided to go for gender neutral colours.  I found a lovely 'Peas in a Pod' hat and a scrumptious 'Pumpkin' hat. They knitted up in an afternoon - however, after knitting I think that the pumpkin hat has more longevity in it, as it is slightly more forgiving on size.  The pea hat was very much a newborn size.  I had to include a close of my pea pod - they are crocheted peas - rather impressed with myself, as I usually end up in knots when I try and crochet :)  Might have to give my dream project of a granny square blanket a go soon!

I also found an easy pattern for baby booties - which I'm sure they will probably grow out of rather quickly, but looked cute and I knitted them to match the hats.

This probably should have been where I stopped knitting  however I had found a really cute pattern for a elephant  that I had to knit up with the new sock yarn I'd purchased on a whim.  By this time I knew there was one of each, so could knit a blue and a pink one, complete with crazy hair styles.

I am now rather at a loss, as I have no more babies to knit for (nor any likely to appear soon!) - let me know if you need a knitted baby gift - I've found this great Dalek pinafore that I am itching to try . . .

P.S. due to the discontinuing of Google Reader in July of this year - I have transferred my blog over to BlogLovin - come and join me there!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Lemon Cake #Library Bakes 1

A couple of weeks ago I went and joined my local library - I wasn't sure what to expect and found a small but rather well stocked shelves.  Also to my delight, there are shelves upon shelves of Cookery books - some rather vintage, but lots of up-to-date ones.  So begins the first of a little series of blog posts I am calling 'Library Bakes'.  The first book that I have borrowed was the Hummingbird Bakery book - this is on my wish list, but thought I'd try out a recipe or too first.

After perusing the book with a cup of tea, I found a rather scrummy looking lemon cake - so decided to go with that.  I had a couple of lemons left over from the cake I'd baked a couple of weeks earlier - so I set to the baking task.  Whilst I was mixing everything together, I realised that it would not fit in the small loaf tin I had prepared - so I got out my huge bread tin - it only just fitted in!  Next time, maybe I might half the recipe or at least reduced it by a third.

The baking took ages - nearly an hour longer than the stated time.  This might have something to do with trying out the 'baking setting' on my oven, in which the heat is given out from the bottom of the oven instead of both the top and bottom.  Maybe because the bake was taking so long, the cake didn't really rise as magnificently as the photo in the book!

I then was a bit impatient of turning the cake of the tin (we had guests, who had just bought us their old sofa - so I couldn't wait for it to cool down!) and it probably didn't help that the cake had a syrup poured over after it came out of the oven.  Despite the mini disaster - it still tasted rather yummy and the Hummingbird Bakery book is definitely on my cookery book wish list!

Library Bakes Score Card

Book:  Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Author: Tarek Malouf
Publishers: Ryland, Peters and Small
Star Rating: 3/5
Positive: Beautiful pictures
Negative: Cake didn't look like the photo and issues with baking time