Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Cooking: Little Chocolate Gingerbread Cakes

Lately I've been baking largely from my Magnolia Bakery cookbook so I felt like changing direction for Christmas and baking something a little more grown up, which led me straight to Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I love Martha. It's a bit sick.

These cakes are packed full of spices and flavour - molasses, freshly grated nutmeg, ground ginger, fresh ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves. When they came out of the oven the house smelled like Christmas. They should have been nice and flat on the top so that I could turn them upside down just like Martha did.

Unfortunately they rose. Some of them a LOT.

So I had to take a deep breath and acknowledge that they would not be as sophisticated as Martha's. Instead they look like cupcakes, which they are (clever Martha disguised hers!)

They are delicious delicious delicious all the same.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ruffles x 3

I want a set of these from Cottage Chic Shop. ASAP preferably. Not that I have anywhere to put them in the crack den that is our house at present. But they would look beautiful when set up for an afternoon tea garden party that exists in my imaginary lovely back yard.

In other news there has been a Hello Cupcake! challenge put up on facebook and you can actually WIN a copy of their new book called What's New, Cupcake. I never win anything although once at the pub I was sitting next to the person who won a meat raffle. It could have been me. So if I connect the dots I can conclude that I could win a book. I just have to think of something clever.

Want to win an autographed copy of What’s New, Cupcake? Want to show off your cupcaking skills? During this baking season, show off your talents by coming up with a new cupcake design using only cupcakes, frosting, and one or all of the following candies: Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, Marshmallows, Gummy bears, Wafer cookies and M&M’s Minis

You've seen Larry the turkey so obviously I need to some up with something good to win...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guest Post: LANYC's 'crazy ass' Halloween creation

LANYC is my 'all that's good* in America' correspondent, my link to the edible delights of the land of stars and stripes. I'm very happy to bring to you one of her spectacular Halloween creations and her musings on this 'crazy ass' deliciousness. I feel great joy when I look at her pictures and see 'sticks of butter' rather than just reading about them in my cookbooks. Mainly this creation just makes me repeat 'holy crap' out loud and sigh in wonder to myself.

*By 'good' read fat and calorie laden, full of unpronounceable man made ingredients, lurid coloured and tasty

Away with my ramblings, I will hand you over to LANYC:

Holidays in America invariably involve seasonal candy*. The biggest candy-fest of them all, however, is Halloween. There's lurid yellow sugar-covered marshmallow chicks called 'Peeps'. There's variegated yellow, orange and white squishy triangles of candy corn (tasting oddly like butter and are primarily constituted of corn syrup). There's choc-covered marshmallow pumpkins. And then, of course, there's the regular candy, featuring holiday-appropriate 'spooky' colours, or just packaged with a picture of a ghost where a happy animal mascot used to be. Everyone in New York seems to be driven to be in possession of massive amounts of seasonal treats for Halloween because no one really wants to find out what happens if you take sugar-high children up on the trick part of their 'trick or treat' offer.

But the seasonal candy is actually kind of gross.

Irrespective of grossness, I hate throwing things away, so I decided to trawl the interweb in search of the magic recipe that would turn my bulging Ziploc bag of sugary Halloween fungross into just plain funyum. I found it in a Serious Eats posting by cakespy, here.

This pie was almost more fun to make than it was to eat - with all that choppin
g, arranging and sampling of various candy bits - but seeing peoples eyes widen as I handed them a slice of 'candy massacre pie' was great too. I based my version on cakespy's but swapped-in my own favourite crust recipe, and used the candy I had to hand (mostly M&Ms, Tootsie Rolls, mini marshmallows, fun-size Snickers, and Cookies 'n' Cream Hersheys bars). Also, I like a bit of crunch and a bit of salt with my massive doses of sweet, so I mixed Rice Crispies (A.K.A. Rice Bubbles) in with the filling, and topped the whole thing with salted pretzels. The latter addition also made the pie look considerably prettier.

Even if there's no Halloween candy where you live. Even if, actually, there's no real Halloween celebration, I'd advise you to think outside the box on this one - Christmas or Easter confectionery would work equally well, don't you think?

Eat, enjoy, and remember to cross your fingers for luck at your next dental check-up.

*After numerous heated debates following my enquiry as to what exactly the catch-all 'candy' refers to, the general consensus seems to be any kind of confectionery that isn't pure solid chocolate.

Friday, December 4, 2009


In this picture I can see:

Cactus cupcake toppers
Pink pearlised cachous
'Happy Baker' stamped tags
Old-timey paper bags
Vintage bride and groom party picks
Jumbo red heart quins
Red and pink heart twist ties
German cotton mushroom decorations
Striped baker's twine ...

and there's more underneath!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Deliciousness from Delicious magazine

I am an obsessive reader of ABC Delicious magazine to the point that I intuitively know what day it will arrive on our doorstep. It happens when I'm sitting on the light rail heading home from work, a big wave of expectation out of nowhere. Weird.

Anyway, can you guess what these ingredients do when you put them all together?

They become...TURKISH DELIGHT ICE CREAM TERRINE! I found the recipe in the November edition of Delicious and started salivating.

Pretty much I had to mix it all together and bung it in a cake tin lined with glad wrap. And freeze it overnight. And open the freezer door to look at it quite frequently. Sometimes I would also poke it with my finger for good measure.

And I had to make a rose flavoured syrup.

Unfortunately I think a full 24 hours in the freezer was a bit excessive. It crumbled when I cut it. The turkish delight glued to the hot knife I attempted to cut the damn thing with. It had weird glad wrap marks all over it.

But it looked pretty.

And it tasted like a bunch of flowers crossed with ice cream crossed with some kind of tulle skirt, which mainly means that it tasted like yum.