Strawberry Mimosa Cupcakes

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A hen party seemed a great opportunity to try making some cocktail themed cupcakes. I slightly adapted a recipe from one of my (many) baking books.

Firstly, the recipe to make 12 cupcakes will use a small bottle of prosecco (or give you an excuse to finish off a standard bottle).

Secondly, I forgo the handmade decorations that were part of the recipe and the typical hen party themed toppers for some unicorn inspired ones that I found in the supermarket. They were so cute that I couldn’t resist 🙂

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The inclusion of orange zest to the cake and frosting gives it a lovely freshness and balances the sweetness.

Makes 12

190g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

115g unsalted butter, softened

200g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 eggs

125ml prosecco

zest of one orange

2tbsp orange juice

Filling

4 tbsp water

2 tbsp cornflour

175g fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces

75g icing sugar

4 tbsp prosecco

Frosting

115g unsalted butter, softened

440g icing sugar

4 tbsp prosecco

zest of 1 orange

2 tbsp orange juice

Cupcake toppers

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases.
  2. 2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add half of the flour mixture along with the prosecco and beat until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, orange zest and orange juice and mix until combined.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the mixture between the paper cases. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the filling, stir the water and cornflour together in a pan and bring to the boil (mind turned jelly like but don’t worry, mine still came out okay).Add the strawberries and icing sugar, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is combined. Add the prosecco and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Set aside to cool.
  5. To make the frosting, put the butter, icing sugar, prosecco, orange zest and orange juice into a bowl and meat with an electric mixed until well combined and is at a piping consistency. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
  6. Use a cupcake corer/apple corer or small knife to remove the centre of each cupcake. Spoon the strawberry filling into the holes. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and top each cupcake with a topper.

Eat the leftover pieces of cake with leftover jam filling and icing (just to make sure they taste good 😀 )

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French Toast

Last week  was a lovely long weekend for me. Mr W had booked us a weekend away in the Lake District. I took advantage and booked the Friday off work (too many days and not enough time to use them). As Mr W was only off in the afternoon, I decided to treat myself to breakfast out. It did take some persuading from Mr W and my sister to actually get me to go. Plenty of food in the house, the weekend away was going to be full of food treats and the idea of sitting in a cafe on my own eating breakfast scared me. But, there was a new cafe that had recently opened I Prestwich that I did really want to try and when would I get the chance anytime soon? (Forgetting that I have a week off in a few weeks lol). That was me all geared up to go, hoping that I could go again with Mr W if I liked it.

On the way to the tram stop I called in to the shop to get a magazine so that I had something to do over breakfast. I then realised that the trams were cheaper after 9.30 (time check and it was 9.20) so cue long way round to tram stop and waiting with other people at the station for the time to change on the machines. I don’t even know if my fare was any cheaper but it made for a fun wait of commuters against the machine.

This cafe I wanted to try (All The Shapes) had come through on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago and the food looked yummy. A mooch at the menu had me drooling over breakfasts like homemade granola, toasted banana bread and sweetcorn fritters. On the walk over, I started to panic that I would be the only person in there (as it was hidden away off the main street) eating breakfast on my own. Talk about looking like a loner. But I didn’t need to worry, there were a few groups in there. It was only a small cafe and I managed to grab the last available table (okay, it was meant for four people…).20170203_100730

I am very indecisive when it comes to ordering food (Mr W and my family hate it. I sit there having an internal dilemma about it and over analyse all my options. It’s something I need to work on but it’s difficult. As much as I love food, I have an awkward relationship with it 😦 ) So, I asked the waiter what he would recommend which were the green eggs (sourdough, healthy greens, griddled avocado  and fried egg) or the cooked breakfast (filling but not greasy). I really wanted him to recommend the french toast so decided that must be what I wanted. French toast with griddled pineapple, mango and mascarpone. Now, I’ve never been been a big fan of french toast (bad experience of eggy bread growing up) but OMG, this was delicious. Whilst I was waiting for it, I was eyeing up the neighbouring tables green eggs with envy. But then when mine came out, they were envying mine. I was so glad that I went for that option, although now I need to go back with Mr W to try something else. I would never think of making french toast at home, but having tried this, it made me want to give it a go. 

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So, yesterday morning I decided to try a french toast recipe that doesn’t use egg. It’s a recipe from Madeline Shaw that I adapted slightly. Although Mr W likes eggs, he isn’t a fan of dishes like omelette or quiche because of the texture. I was worried that if I gave him eggy bread for breakfast he wouldn’t like it. Madeline’s recipe was a vegan friendly so used a mix of almond milk and chickpea flour instead of egg. It was easy to make and was hit with both me and Mr W. This is how I made it.

Serves 2

180ml skimmed milk

1tsp vanilla essence

2tbsp chickpea flour

1tsp cinnamon

4 thick slices sourdough

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

blueberries and strawberries

Pour the milk and vanilla essence into a baking dish and whisk together. Sieve in the chickpea flour and cinnamon and whisk together. Place the bread in the mixture and soak on each side for 2 minutes.

Whilst the bread was soaking I warmed the blueberries in a pan with a little bit of sugar, water and a teaspoon of cornflour to make a gloopy warm compote.

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add the soaked bread and cook on each side for two minutes (turning over every one minute). This will give the coating a nice golden colour. Serve two slices of toast per person and top with the blueberry compote and sliced strawberries. Enjoy!

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

Yesterday was my mum’s birthday and she invited the family round for paella and sangria. But there was one condition, I was to bake a cake. Given the choice, my mum would pick a cherry and almond cake that I make that has a layer of marzipan in the middle. It’s one of her favourite. But for me, it just wasn’t special enough. I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity and bake something as a practice run for a bake off that I am potentially entering next week at work (schedule permitting). So, I started flicking through my Good Food magazines (they’d been doing a cake club feature in the last issues). I wanted something that was summery and didn’t have any chocolate in (my mum doesn’t eat it). I finally settled on the Giant Strawberry Shortcake from last summer. Now, when I originally decided to bake this, I was planning to make it on the day. It’s a triple layered bake but shouldn’t take more than a few hours to make. However, my sister and her boyfriend were meant to be competing in a charity 5km run and obstacle course that lunchtime. But her boyfriend broke his finger and I offered to take his place (enjoyed it but never again. Still suffering now). This meant I needed to make the cake the night before. I was worried that it would not last but it was fine.

Here’s the recipe for this bake Giant Strawberry Shortcake. There are that many steps to it I thought it would be easier to provide the link.

So on the Friday night I made the shortbread biscuits and the cake layer. I was able to borrow two tart tins from work so was able to bake the two biscuits at the same time (perfect). It took me about two hours to complete up to step seven. I wanted to get all the baking out of the way that night and leave the assembling until the morning. I decided to go for the recommended buttercream rather than the Chantilly cream suggestions. Two reasons for this:

1. I wanted the cake to more like a jammie dodger than a Victoria sandwich cake.

2. I thought it would hold it’s shape more. I didn’t want the cake to collapse.

Giant Strawberry Shortcake CrackNow, during the assembly of the cake, everything was going so well until I had to but the final shortbread biscuit on top. When I went to pick it up of the cooling rack, it broke in half (whoops). Was this because I was still a little groggy or because the dough hadn’t joined together properly? This then made me think twice about possible making it for a bake off.

But then we all tried it and it was worth it. Yum yum. It is a very indulgent cake and I suggest serving it between 16 rather than 12. Obviously, due to the nature of the cake (layer of biscuit, cake, biscuit) it can’t be eaten in one go. Definitely needs a spoon/fork and a plate.  

Giant Strawberry Shortcake