Lemon Drizzle Easter Cake!

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeThere are lots of things that people don’t tell you about becoming a parent. Particularly some of the dilemmas a foodie parent might face…

For example, when I was making this cake – my 6 week old daughter Tilly decided that she wanted feeding 10 minutes before it was due to come out the oven. PANIC STATIONS! I somehow, miraculously, managed to solve both problems but it was an interestingly tense situation I can tell you!

I am slowly learning that timing is everything in these early weeks. Especially if you are trying to bake or cook as well. I’ve also learnt that one handed multi tasking is something you have to adapt to…

Lemon Drizzle Easter Cake TillyLets be honest though – there was nothing that was going to get between me and that pudding!

And these tiny people are much more intelligent than they let on. I mean, Tilly already knows how to take a selfie!

Lemon Drizzle Easter Cake TillyBaby antics aside, I wanted to keep it nice and simple again with this weeks recipe. Truth be told, I don’t have time for anything other than simple at the moment! So here’s what you need to make a gorgeous lemon drizzle cake with an easy Easter decoration.

(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food.)

For the Cake

  • 225g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 225g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs, Room Temp
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 225g Self Raising Flour

For the Syrup

  • 85g Golden Caster Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Lemons

For the Icing & Decoration

  • 225g Icing Sugar
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 180g Cadbury’s Mini Eggs

Essential Equipment

  • 20cm (8″) Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tin

Lightly grease the base & sides of the cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.

Either in an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk, cream together the butter & sugar until light and fluffy.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeCrack the eggs into a jug and beat. Then, a quarter at a time, add them to the butter mixing well inbetween each addition.

If the mixture starts to curdle, just add a tablespoon of flour into the batter and mix it through.

Add in the lemon zest & sift in the flour. Mix again until the batter is nice and smooth but try not to over mix.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakePour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeWhilst the cake is in the oven, let’s make the syrup.

Simply weigh the sugar into a jug & squeeze over the lemon juice. Give it a good stir until the sugar has dissolved, then leave to one side until the cake has come out of the oven.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeWhilst still warm in the tin, use a skewer to poke holes over the whole cake. Then evenly pour over the syrup and allow to cool completely before decorating.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and add the lemon juice. Stir well with a spoon until smooth. It should be a little thick but still runny.

Now for assembly!

Remove the cake from the tin & peel off the baking paper from the bottom. Place on a wire rack set over some newspaper or a baking sheet.

If your cake has domed in the middle, you may like to level it off with a sharp knife first. Otherwise, simply pour the icing over the cake and encourage it to drizzle down the sides with a spoon.

Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeTop with the Mini Eggs & marvel at your creation! (Even though it was really quite easy to make, but sshhhh, if you don’t tell I won’t!)

It will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Lemon Drizzle Easter CakeI absolutely love lemon drizzle cake! Not only is it a baking classic, it’s incredibly simple to make and really easy to turn into an Easter dessert. It’s also something that the kids can get involved with. And no, I don’t mean by screaming when it’s almost ready like Tilly, I mean by actually getting stuck in and baking!

What a fabulous dessert to have at the centre of your dinner table this upcoming Easter weekend.

And on that note, I will catch you all next time!

Miss KitchenMason (And Tilly! x )

 

 

Christmas Tree Brownies!

Christmas Tree BrowniesWith just over a week left until the big day, I found myself wondering what other awesome Christmas bakes I could try – then I came up with these little beauties. Christmas tree brownies! Not only are they delightfully gooey & rich, they’re really fun to decorate AND vegetarian & gluten free. It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved in. What more could you want?!

One thing to note – these brownies work best if made the night before and allowed to cool completely before attempting to slice & decorate. Also – they are the most awesome, rich & gooey brownies you will ever make. (And that’s a KitchenMason promise!)

Here is what you will need to make 14.

For the Brownie

For the Decoration

  • 100g White Chocolate **
  • Pack of Candy Canes **
  • Red/Green Sugar Balls **

Essential Equipment

  • 30 x 20cm Rectangular Cake/Swiss Roll Tin

*Regular self raising flour works fine if you don’t need it to be gluten free.

** Most are vegetarian/gluten free but check the label just in case.

 

Right, let’s get cracking!

Grease and line the cake tin and set to one side until needed.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

Break the dark & milk chocolate into a large bowl and add the butter & salt. Gently melt either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave.

Stir until smooth & shiny then leave to one side to cool.

Christmas Tree BrowniesEither in an electric stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – whisk the eggs for at least 3-4 minutes until really light and pale.

It should leave a slight trail when you remove the balloon whisk/beaters.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAdd in the muscovado sugar & vanilla extract and whisk again until evenly blended but still fairly light in texture.

Christmas Tree BrowniesIn thirds, pour in the cooled chocolate & gently fold through using a rubber spatula.

Sift over the flour and carefully fold this in – just until you can’t see any more lumps of flour and the mixture is smooth & still quite light.

Christmas Tree BrowniesPour the mixture into the prepared cake tin – be careful not to overfill as it will rise slightly.

Then bake in the preheated oven for approx 25-30 minutes.

Christmas Tree Brownies

Christmas Tree BrowniesAs mentioned before, it is best to make these brownies the night before and allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from the tin & slice.

So, when completely cooled  -run a spatula down the sides of the brownie to release from the tin then gently lift out and place on a chopping board/mat.

Now, I’m a bit of a perfectionist so yeah – I got a ruler out at this point! But basically, cut the brownie into 14 triangles. You will have 4 spare bits for you to taste test too! (Clearly I couldn’t wait to take a photo…)

Christmas Tree BrowniesTake each candy cane out the wrapper and snap into pieces approx 3cm long.

Place the brownies on a wire rack over a piece of newspaper & carefully insert a piece of candy cane into the base of each one.

Christmas Tree BrowniesMelt the white chocolate in either a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave and pour into a piping bag.

Snip the end and pipe ‘tinsel’ across each tree then place sugar balls down the edges in the chocolate for the baubles.

I found it best to decorate in half batches – just to ensure the chocolate doesn’t set before you have stuck the ‘baubles’ in.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAllow the chocolate to set for about 30-40 minutes or so before either devouring straight away or placing in nice presentation boxes to give as gifts to your loved ones.

I find it best to store these in an air tight container in the fridge – due to their extreme ‘gooeyness’ they can become a little delicate if stored at room temperature.

Christmas Tree BrowniesGo on, admit it – they’re SO cute aren’t they?! I think these make great little home made gifts for people and, with the decoration element – you can let the kids go nuts adding edible glitters, hundreds and thousands or whatever else they can think of!

Don’t forget to enter my awesome competition to win a fabulous Scanpan Roasting Tray! You can enter via the Website, Facebook or Twitter.

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies – until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

 

Chocolate Celebration Cake!

 

Chocolate Celebration CakeThis weekend I celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time in my life. It’s not a typical British thing to do, but for my friend Shanni (who comes from across the pond) it’s a calendar must!

And what a fantastic evening it turned out to be. Shanni & her partner cooked literally the biggest turkey I have ever seen in my whole life and everyone else each brought something to add to the table. From mouth watering dauphinoise potatoes to sensational vegetarian bakes, literally everything I tried induced a combination of yummy noises, smiles & a happy tummy!

And what was my contribution? Pudding! I was under orders to make something chocolatey. But I didn’t want to make just any old chocolate cake, oh no. I wanted it to fit the theme! So using a recipe that I have made hundreds of times, I simply changed up the decoration & piping technique to turn a simple chocolate cake into a Thanksgiving showstopper. It’s amazing what gold shimmer spray can do! You should totally give this a try. I promise, it’s nowhere near as difficult as it looks.

Here is what you will need to make a 3  layer 20cm diameter cake.

For the Sponge

  • 160g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 560g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 100g Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 480ml Whole Milk, Room Temp
  • 4 Eggs, Room Temp
  • 2 tsp Chocolate Extract (Optional)

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 540g Icing Sugar
  • 100g Cocoa Powder
  • 300g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 1 tsp Chocolate Extract (Optional)
  • Splash of Milk

For the Sugar Decorations (To be Made 24 hrs in Advance)

Essential Equipment

  • 3 x 20cm Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tins

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have all your ingredients at the same temperature before starting to mix. It really helps them to blend together & dramatically improves the texture of the final cake. So if you have the time – take all those chilled items out the fridge and leave on the side for an hour or two before starting. 

Ok! Lightly grease the 3 baking tins & line the bottoms with baking paper.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C.

In either a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder & salt until it forms a light sandy mixture.

Chocolate Celebration CakeBeat the milk, eggs & chocolate extract together in a jug using a fork. Then with the speed on low, gradually add two thirds of the liquid into the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until it’s smooth, thick & shiny.

Chocolate Celebration CakeWith the speed on low again, add the remaining third of the liquid – then increase to medium and mix until smooth and shiny.

Chocolate Celebration CakeDivide the mixture evenly between the 3 prepared tins and bake in the lower section of the oven for 30-40 mins. To check if they’re cooked – insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If it has cake batter on it – it needs a little longer.

When cooked, allow to cool in the tins for about 30 minutes. Then take out the tins, peel off the baking paper & transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Chocolate Celebration CakeOnto the buttercream.

Either in a stand mixer or a large glass bowl using an electric hand whisk, beat together the icing sugar, cocoa powder & butter until sandy in consistency.

Chocolate Celebration CakeWith the speed on low, add in the chocolate extract & small amounts of milk (a little at a time) to loosen the mixture. Remember, you can always add more in but you can’t take it out!

Once you see it turning darker in colour and smoother in texture – increase the speed to medium/high and beat until light and smooth. Leave to one side, or, if you want – you can make this up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Simply allow to come to room temperature & give it a good mix before using.

Chocolate Celebration CakeOnto the decoration.

There are several ways to tackle this. Either you can buy pre-coloured fondant icing OR you can buy plain white icing and colour it yourself using gel food colours. DO NOT use liquid food colouring as it will make the fondant way to soft to work with. Also remember to add a little colour at a time – again, you can always add more in but you can’t take it out.

Either way, all you need to do is roll out each colour (one at a time) on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and cut out an assortment of leaf shapes & sizes.

Want to make them curvy shaped like mine? You don’t need to go out and buy loads of fancy, expensive moulds! All you need is a couple of sheets of cardboard, a rolling pin & some blu-tack.

Chocolate Celebration CakeOnce you’ve cut out your shapes, simply lay them however you like on your make shift moulds and allow to dry at room temperature for a minimum of 24 hours to ensure they keep their shape.

And that’s it!

Now for assembly.

If your cakes haven’t baked perfectly even (like mine never do!) carefully slice of the tops off to make each layer flat and the same size.

On a cake board or large serving plate, centrally place the bottom layer. I use this one cut side up to make sure you get a flat foundation.

Load a piping bag with a large round nozzle and fill with some buttercream frosting. Start by piping blobs around the edge.

Chocolate Celebration CakeContinue by piping a spiral within the ‘blobbed’ edge – from the outside in. (Thanks to John Whaite for this Tip!)

Chocolate Celebration CakePop the next layer on top, cut side down – see how pretty it looks? No one will ever know it doesn’t look the same in the middle as they’re only going to shovel it in their mouth anyway! Repeat the piping process on this layer.

Chocolate Celebration CakeThen add on your final layer. (Again, cut side down.) This time, we’re going to pipe blobs all over. So, starting from the outside and working your way to the middle, start blobbing!

Chocolate Celebration CakeNow all that remains is to lay on your leaf decorations however you like and spray all over with some gold shimmer spray. If your board looks a bit empty like mine did, simply pipe a border of blobs around the bottom of the cake.

Chocolate Celebration CakeI told you it wasn’t as difficult as it looked! I love this cake recipe as it’s pretty much just a case of chuck it all in, mix it, bake it, done. No faffing around for ages – just pile it all in! You could very easily adapt the decorations to suit any occasion too. For example, get some green, white & red fondant – cut out Christmas shapes (trees, presents, snowmen etc) & make exactly the same as above, maybe with some silver shimmer spray to add that extra ‘wow’.

All that remains for me to say is a huge thank you to Shanni & David for hosting such an enjoyable Thanksgiving feast for us all. And to all you lovely lot in the USA – Happy Thanksgiving for Thursday!

Hope you all enjoyed the post, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Broken Glass Cupcakes!

Broken Glass CupcakesIt’s Halloween on Friday! I love this time of year. Ok, yes it’s a little colder and yes, it’s getting darker – but I don’t mind if it means I get to bake really fun, super awesome things like this! I think they’re SO eye-catching and would make a great addition to a Halloween party table.

Other recipes for these tend use a liquid food for the ‘blood’ but, the KitchenMason twist?  I use a smooth jam. When heated up, it’s runny & easy to use but then it solidifies back into jam! Making it ‘no mess’ when you come to display/eat them.

However, two important things to note before you embark upon your spooky, baking journey. 1. The caramel can be quite sharp so be careful if children are to eat them. 2. The caramel will only last a few hours before starting to go ‘frosty’ so decorate right before serving for optimum effect.

With that in mind, here is what you will need to make about 12 – 16 cakes.

For the Caramel

  • 340g Granulated Sugar
  • 180ml Water

For the Vanilla Sponge

  • 80g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 280g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 240g Plain Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 240ml Whole Milk, Room Temp
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs, Room Temp

 For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 400g Icing Sugar
  • 200g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp & Cubed
  • Splash of milk or cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

 For the Blood

  • approx 200g Smooth Jam (Any red coloured flavour)

To make the sponge, preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C and line a cupcake tin with foil cases. (You may need 2 tins if your mix makes more than 12 cakes.)

In either a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder & salt until sandy in consistency.

Broken Glass CupcakesIn a jug, beat together the milk, vanilla extract & eggs. Add three quarters to the bowl and mix until really smooth.

Then add in the remaining quarter, mix until completely blended in and smooth.

Broken Glass CupcakesSpoon the mixture into the prepared cases. I only fill mine about halfway to allow plenty of room for rising.

Broken Glass CupcakesBake in the preheated oven for 15 – 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, allow to sit in the tin for a couple of minutes, then remove each cake and place on a wire rack to cool completely whilst we get on with the frosting.

To make the Buttercream Frosting:

In a stand mixer, add in the butter and the icing sugar and mix until smooth. (You may want to use the lid attachment to save yourself being covered in a mushroom cloud of icing sugar!)

OR

In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth then gradually add in the icing sugar and beat well in-between each addition until all the sugar is used up.

 

Then add in the vanilla extract and splashes of the milk/cream until you get the consistency you want. It needs to be smooth enough to pipe but thick enough to hold it’s shape.

Broken Glass CupcakesTo make the Caramel:

Take a large, rimmed baking tray and line with a silicone baking sheet.

To make the caramel, bring the sugar and water to a boil over a high heat in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Bring granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Then reduce the heat to medium/high and cook until it just starts to turn golden. This should take approx 15-20 minutes but don’t step away from the pan. You can guarantee, as soon as you do – it will turn and you’ll have to start all over again!

Bring granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Moving as quickly as you can, pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet & spread out as thinly as possible. The thinner the caramel, the clearer it will be. (As you can see from my results below – the thinner pieces are clearer whereas the thicker pieces are more ‘mottled’)

Allow to set hard and cool completely before breaking into shards. CAREFUL! They can be sharp.

Bring granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Once your caramel shards are ready, load the frosting up into a large piping bag fitted with your nozzle of choice. (I used a 3M star nozzle.)

Pipe a swirl, covering all the sponge, on top of each cupcake.

Broken Glass CupcakesNext, push a couple of shards into each cake. Remember not to do this until just before serving.

In a small saucepan, warm up the jam until smooth and runny. Give it a good stir then, using a teaspoon, blob the jam onto each cupcake.

If it starts to solidify, simply put the pan back on the heat for 30 seconds to loosen it up again.

Repeat until all your cakes are covered in a spattering of blood!

Broken Glass CupcakesNow you have the creepiest, spookiest and coolest Halloween cupcakes in all the land! They’ll definitely make an impact at your Halloween party and you’re sure to be asked for the recipe as they taste SO good!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s spooky post, until next time lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason