Valentine's day is almost here! If you're looking for a last minute, quick and easy DIY gift or after dinner treat for you and your Valentine or Galentine, then you're going to love these luxe gold heart chocolate chip cookies!Read More
Can you believe Christmas is over?! At this time of year, it seems a bit inevitable to reflect on the past year, and so here are some of my favourite DIY projects from the past year.Read More
Following my Five Faves Friday DIY Easter Decor post, I was full to the brim of Easter-related craft and DIY ideas but because of all the work I had, very much lacking in time. So, I opted to quench my crafting thirst with the ridiculously easy and spring classic that is the chocolate cornflake cake. You often see them at this time of year with mini eggs on top looking something akin to a birds nest, but for want of being a bit different, I decided to make mine look like flower pots.
1. Trim off the top of your brown paper cups and place your cupcake cases inside. Because I'm in the midst of a 5000 word essay, I'm pretty much a recluse at the moment and so to avoid having to leave my laptop to enter the real world for too long, I opted to get some brown paper cups from Tescos. As an added bonus they were super cheap though some flower pot cupcake cases would be perfect.
2. Melt the chocolate and crush up some cornflakes in a separate bowl. Again, in the spirit of laziness and to reduce my washing up, I melted the chocolate in the microwave in increments of 20 seconds. Whilst this was melting, I decided to crush my cornflakes up so they were a bit more soil-like.
3. Stir the cornflakes into the bowl of melted chocolate. Keep mixing until all of the cornflakes are covered in chocolate. For this I used a metal spoon. When I tried it, it tasted a bit too sweet and so I sprinkled in some cocoa powder.
4. Spoon the chocolate cornflake mixture into each cupcake case. Using two teaspoons I carefully spooned the mixture into the cupcake cases. Once I reached the top of the cases, I added another spoonful in the middle to create a little mound so that my decorations would be at a slight angle.
5. Place the sugar paste flowers on top and put the pots in the fridge to set. Make sure you add these on whilst the mixture is still sticky otherwise they'll fall straight back off. If you do miss this window of opportunity though, never fear, just melt a little more chocolate and stick them on with this. Leave in the fridge to set for an hour or two.
6. Place the pots into your cupcake gift trays and tie up the cellophane with the bow. The best way to do this, is to first assemble the box and then place the flower pot into this. I found my flower pots moved around quite a bit so you might want to shred up some green tissue paper (to look like grass!) and stuff it in around the pot to keep it in place. Next you want to open the cellophane and carefully lower the box into it and secure it with a bow.
This is another ridiculously easy (and cheap!) DIY that took me hardly any time at all and the resulting cakes are not only delicious but lovely to look at. These would make a great little 'Happy Easter!' gift for friends and family. In my bid to fully embrace Easter, I recently bought the garland and confetti (Waitrose) above. I was pretty fortunate to be given the tulips above from work however I completely forgot to get a vase for them, so what you can't see is that my lovely tulips are sat in a coffee jar (haha)!
Let me know what you think of this super easy DIY in the comments below, I always love to hear your views!
Happy Easter :)
It's getting close to party season (yay!), which can mean only one thing; cocktail-flavoured cupcakes or cuptails as I fondly call them! I've made these for almost every party I've ever thrown and every time I have, they have always gone down a treat. Mojito's are my absolute favourite cocktail and at my last party, where I made both Mojito cuptails and Chocolate Vodka cuptails, the Mojito cuptails were not only my favourite, but also my party guests'. They are actually pretty easy to make and as they make a nice little addition to any party or gathering, I thought that I would share with you how I made and decorated them. I found the recipe from the Good Food Channel's website. I often get my recipes from here because it has such a good variety of interesting recipes and explains them so simply that even a kitchen-phobe like myself can understand them.
After making and baking the cupcakes, I left them to completely cool. Once they were cool, I broke off some mint leaves and gently rubbed it across the top of each cupcake. I then poured some brown rum (unlike white rum as the recipe suggests!) and lime juice into an egg cup and using a pastry brush, brushed the rum-lime mixture onto the top of each cupcake. This is such a good method of infusing cakes and cupcakes with alcohol without having to adjust the proportions of the mixture - I don't know about you, but that always confuses me. Leave the rum-lime mixture to soak in thoroughly before brushing on another layer. I repeated this quite a few times (haha!) so that they were thoroughly alcohol infused, however you can alter this to your own taste.
Before the final layer of the mixture was completely absorbed, I lightly sprinkled on some brown sugar so that it dissolved into the mixture on top of the cupcakes. For the icing, I mixed up some flora buttery (instead of butter!) with icing sugar and added a drop of green food colouring gel and the remainder of the rum-lime mix. I found that adding these in, as well as using Flora instead of butter, meant that I needed a bit more icing sugar than the recipe suggested. Once I was happy with the consistency of the icing, I put the icing into a piping bag and using a round tipped nozzle, piped a high cone shape into the middle of the cupcake. Then, starting from the outside edge of the cupcake, I piped in a spiral towards the centre of the cupcake, going up the sides of the cone until I reached the top.
To decorate the icing, I sprinkled some brown sugar over the top, cut up some straws and pushed these into the centre of the icing at an angle. I then added a sprig of mint and cut up some lime into small wedges, which I pushed into the icing around the straw to give it more of a 'cocktail look'. Sadly I didn't take a photo of how they looked before I served them, as guests started arriving whilst I was finishing them up and I dashed off to get changed so I'm sorry there's no final picture!
What cocktail would you like as a cupcake?
Have you ever made cuptails?
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to share and subscribe!
I feel like the title of this blog post has probably been done many times before, however the song 'Hey Macarena' (well, macaron-a) was the first thing that popped into my head when I decided to have a go at making macarons and I haven't been able to say macarons (heeey, macaron-a, ahai!) quite the same way ever since.
I've got quite a bit of work due in for the academic side of the course at the moment and so as a result, I have been finding more elaborate and interesting ways of procrastinating. I've wanted to make macarons for ages, related probably to the Great British Bake Off which shows the bakers making them (with complete ease I have to say!) almost every other week. So I thought I'd have a go myself, as I've never made them before.
Chocolate orange is one of my favourite pudding flavours and so I decided to make Chocolate orange macarons. I found a Chocolate Orange Macaron recipe on BBC Food Recipes however part of it suggests heating sugar in a pan until it reaches a certain temperature, which for me is all a bit too complicated. So I took bits and bobs from the BBC food recipe and took bits and bobs from a macaron book that my (almost) mother-in-law rather kindly lent me. First, I lined three baking trays with greaseproof paper and preheated the oven (170°C). I then grabbed a huge glass mixing bowl and mixed some icing sugar (180g), ground almonds (180g) and cocoa powder (1 tbsp), before sieving the mixture to remove any lumps.
In a separate bowl, I whisked the whites of 5 eggs and once they were fluffy, added a tablespoon of caster sugar, one at a time (whilst still whisking) and only added the next spoonful, when the last was fully mixed. Using a metal spoon, I folded the ground almond, sugar and cocoa mixture into the egg whites thoroughly. Once mixed, I spooned the mixture into a piping bag and piped circles onto the lined baking trays. I only had three baking trays and so tried to fit as many circles on as possible but I realised afterwards that this probably wasn't a good idea as it resulted in some circles merging into one another. To remove any air bubbles, I dropped the trays on my work surface a few times (it felt very dramatic!) and left the circles to harden for about 45 minutes.
I knew the macaron shells were ready to bake when I touched the shells and they no longer felt sticky or wet. I baked each tray of macaron shells one at a time for 10-12 minutes each. Whilst baking, I made the chocolate orange ganache (for the middle) by heating some double cream (100ml) on the hob until it boiled and by mixing in some plain chocolate (200g). When it was thoroughly melted and mixed, I added some orange extract (1.5 tsp) and popped it in the fridge to stiffen slightly. Once cool, I assembled the macarons by putting a spoonful of ganache in the middle of the bottom of one macaron shell and by placing another shell on top. I then popped these into the fridge overnight and sprinkled some edible bronze paint over the top to decorate them.
I'm so pleased with how they turned out and can confirm that they tasted amazing! Not bad for my first attempt, though I definitely think it was down to the fool-proof recipes I followed. Here's to a macaron-filled future!
Have you made macarons before? Any recipe recommendations?
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to share and subscribe :)