baking for a cure...


the bake sale was a success! took time to create all of the baked goods but was totally worth it.

in the end i decided to go for cherryade cupcakes, earl grey cupcakes and PB+J pinwheel cookies.



i nipped out tuesday morning and got all the ingredients today for a mammoth day of baking.



by the end of tuesday i had 72 cherryade made and ready to be decorated.




wednesday morning i made 2 rolls of pinwheel cookies and popped them in the fridge ready to be baked freshly shortly before the bake sale. i then made 32 earl grey cupcakes and began to ice them all!




thursday morning i was half expecting a mad rush to get everything decorated and finished off but it was actually very chilled. 




cookies baked, cupcakes decorated i made my way to work to begin the sale.




i decided the earl grey cupcakes (top) needed a topper, so i purchased a selection of miniature biscuits for people to select and put on top. the first bake sale go'er went for a jammy dodger earl grey cupcake and a cherryade cupcake (bottom).

the middle cupcake was made by my colleague pauline, vanilla topeed with a pink butterfly.



when i left after 4 hours the bucket was rammed with cash and we had made over £175 selling half of the cupcakes.

i'm not sure what the grand total is yet but i will find out tomorrow and let you all know.

i was so pleased to be part of such an amazing event, its a charity that is very close to my heart.

this one was for you both, Auntie Jean and Auntie Sue.



Threadless.com


now its time to put my feet up and have a nice cup of tea!

p.s how appropriate is the t-shirt?! just had to buy it!

a cause close to my heart...

last week i was asked to create some pink cakes for a fund raising event at work. the event is taking place as we have a colleague returning to work after being treated for cancer. all money raised will be donated to Cancer Research UK.






they asked me to think of some ideas for baked goods that i could sell, including a pink cupcake.
i've decided to go for cherryade cupcakes, they went down really well last time i did a charity bake sale. they have ordered 120 of these.
lucky for me they are paying me 50p per cupcake to cover the ingredient cost and they are also paying me to stay at home part of the day on Wednesday to give me some time to bake.




the plan is to bake all of the cupcakes on Tuesday ready to be decorated on the morning of the bake sale. hopefully i will be able to make some peanut butter pinwheels in advance as they are easily stored and can be baked shortly before the sale.

 



i also have LOTS of creme eggs left over from easter which i need to use before July so i hope to make some brownies if time allows!

 


in other news!
i have entered the above cake into a competition! i was wondering if you guys would VOTE FOR ME?

click on the Link and go to the facebook competition APP. the cake is titled "Mad Hatters Tea Party Topsy Turvy Birthday Cake"

the people with the most votes get to the next round of the competition and the judges then decide on a winner. the prize is a Kitchen Aid Mixer


thanks in advance guys!


AMAZING DAY.....

....for the last couple of days i have been looking into different things baking related and otherwise.

after purchasing a copy of John Whaite's book in london (autographed as well) i decided to follow him on twitter (@Johnwhaitebakes).




shortly after following he sent out a tweet about a Food blogger multi bake day so i decided to take a look. at first i was a bit unsure because of the price and the date, i wasn't sure if i would be able to get the time of work in such short notice. however after a lot of thinking i decided i would look into going.


amazingly i found some train tickets for the total price of £59 first class return from my home town to London Paddington (booking first class singles rather than a return). I thought about staying over night on the friday and then returning home after the day of baking as it was originally due to run from 10am to 3pm.

today i had another look and sadly the hotel i usually stay in is fully booked BUT! the times had been changed to 1pm-6pm which ment i had time to travel up on saturday morning and return the same day, saving myself £65 on hotel costs.

i had gone over it all in my head and decided to go for it. 

as i went to click on the link that would take me through to purchase i realised that the price had gone down from £140 to £100! i transfered money out of my savings account instantly and clicked on the link!

you are now reading the words of the proud over of a place at a food bloggers paradise, a day with a Great British Bake Off winner!

HOORAY!

shortly after this my phone lit up and i had an email. i recognised the name as one of my followers on twitter.




the email read as follows:

XXY magazine would like to invite you to this event we are hosting on tuesday next week, at Mahiki.
We hope to see you all there at the after party in collaboration with designers Joseph Turley and L.Lipop.
Also, we were wondering if you would want to collaborate as well with us making black cupcakes/or a cake with white icing spelling XXY.
Tell us if you're interested.

i feel completely honoured to be invited and so completely gutted that i cannot make it! what a great thing to be asked to do.
i had to email back and tell him i couldn't make it due to work and travel arrangements. 

kind of feels like one of those what if moments that i will probably regret for a very long time. 

but thank you so so much Pierre


lemon meringue cupcakes...


now a lot of people have been asking for this recipe here on the blog and also over on twitter.
i was quite worried about doing these for a charity bake sale as i have never had any luck with meringue but thankfully it all turned out brilliantly.

you will need

for the sponge:
80g of unsalted butter
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 table spoon baking powder
1 quarter teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of lemon zest (or if you are a bit of a lemon fiend like myself...2-3)
2 eggs
240ml of while milk

for the filling:
a jar of lemon curd

for the frosting:
4 egg whites
200g of caster sugar
150ml water


start by preheating the oven to 190ºC or gas mark 5 and line your cupcake tin with your favourite cases.



mix together the sugar and butter until no large lumps remain.



sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. its always best to sift even if a recipe you are following doesn't say to.


throw in the lemon zest and then mix until all is well combined, it will look a bit like sand but dont be tempted to make castles...this is for eating not for playing!

after i added the lemon i got a bit over excited by the smell and forgot to take any more pictures..so prepare yourself for a mountain of type!


whisk the eggs and milk together in a jug and begin to add the mix into the other ingredients, whilst beating on a slow speed.
once all of the wet is added, turn up the mixer to a medium speed and allow all the ingredients to come together until smooth.

using an ice cream scoop begin to fill the cases, i found this mix made 14 full size cupcakes and one small one. i like to call this small one the taste test!

bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, the sponge should bounce back when pressed or you can use a trusty cocktail stick to check the core.

allow these to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then place onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

once they have had time to cool completely its time to give them an extra burst of lemon loveliness. if you have a cupcake corer feel free to use this but i went for a teaspoon. simply cut out the center of the cupcakes and put them to one side (do not be tempted to eat any! you will be using them as lids shortly!).

once thats done, take a jar of your favourite lemon curd and place a spoonful into each cupcake. replace the lid and push down slightly.
dont' worry to much about putting the right top on the right cupcake as the meringue topping will cover this!

next you want place 200g of caster sugar into a saucepan and cover with the water. bring this to the boil and allow it to sit on the heat for 5-10 minutes, by which point it should reach its soft ball stage (if you take a spoonful of this and place it into cold water you should be able to pick it up and form a soft ball).

whilst the sugar and water are boiling away place the 4 egg whites in a bowl and whisk until it just begins to foam.

once at the soft ball stage turn the mixer up to medium and add the sugar to the eggs. you will find that the whites will instantly start to grow and it should increase in size. once all the sugar has been added increase the speed to high and whisk until the bottom of the bowl is lukewarm.

next for the fun part!

place the meringue on top of each cupcake, you can do this however you see fit really. for example you could try piping it onto each cake to give it a swirly effect.

i opted to spoon it on and used a palette knife to cover the entire cake and give it a peak.


if you have a blow torch, turn it on and with fluid motions go back and forth over the top of the meringue, this will give it that golden colour commonly seen on a meringue. just be very careful as this mixture will burn very quickly.

don't worry if you don't have a torch, just pop them under the grill but make sure you dont take your eyes off of them as they will burn quickly!



and there you have it! lemon meringue cupcakes!

i hope you enjoy them as much as i did!

another charity bake sale...


so im on holiday :D which is lovely as i look to have chosen a great week off, the sun is shining and my sun glasses are out!

sadly though before finishing work, we were told that one of our regulars had passed away.
he had a rare genetic disorder called friedreich's ataxia and he had gone down hill over the last 8 weeks.

the funeral is next thursday so a group of us are going to go and pay our respects, he was a lovely man.

his mother was his carer and she took him out every day. she's asked that no one donates flowers, but instead donates money to the friedreich's ataxia charity as that would be what he wanted.

so yesterday i got out my mixing bowls and set to work making some baked goods to sell to raise some money for the charity.


these are lemon meringue cupcakes, i was a bit unsure about these at first as i haven't had much lucky with meringue before but they came out perfectly and were delicious! i will post the recipe later in the week.





i also decided to use up my chocolate covered coffee beans from Hotel chocolat and made Espresso cupcakes. again i was a bit worried they may be a tad strong but my god they were good!





and finally...i almost wet myself the other day when i realised that waitrose sell pumpkin puree! i have been looking for it for months and could only find it on really expensive american sweet shop websites. but this was a steal! 
i went ahead and made pumpkin cheesecake. now i know what you are thinking..."Pumpkin cheesecake..really!?"...really...it was goooooooooood!

i was expecting to take a lot of it home after the bake sale because its pumpkin but also because i rushed it at midnight whilst buzzing after eating an espresso cupcake (to check it tasted good obviously...)

to my amazement everything sold!

the bake sale itself raised £61! im fully chuffed and i'm so happy i did it for such a great cause.



i decided to treat myself, after all the sun was shining and i had done my good deed for the day. so i got myself a few bottles of wine to enjoy over the week.. (one bottles already gone so i apologise for any shlurring/typos...hic..)

mount riley is a lovely wine..an easy drink shall we call it? one that you can sip on without thinking its wine.




also as i am so into my cooking at the moment i decided to treat myself to "Kitchen" by Nigella Lawson. i have been watching her programs on TV a lot recently and find myself making sex noises when cooking...so wrong but so right...ummm!





one last thing before i leave you in peace...someone tweeted this on thursday and i literally wet myself and just had to share it.. the tweet was something like "Tomorrow..." and then the picture... brilliant!

a spanner in the works...

i started this blog back in february with an aim to help myself achieve my dreams and so far...it is working!

if you follow my blog more regularly you will notice the savings tracker that appears frequently at the bottom of a post (this tends to be around pay day). well i'm saving for a little trip to Australia.

a lot of my family live over there and i have been 4 times in the past, last when i was 18. it has always been a dream of mine to go and either explore by myself in the time frame of a holiday...or...to make the most of it and go for a year.

the savings you see on the blog on the savings i can actually get my hands on, the rest is hidden away somewhere where i cannot reach it.

the other day i worked out with my parents how much i actually had across all my savings and it turns out i am only £90 away from the savings required by the Australian government to go on a working holiday visa...naturally i'm excited!




then there was the spanner in the works..
my dad has always supported the things i want to do except for one thing.(or two depending on the view you take on this particular spanner..)

that one thing being the baking. dont get me wrong he always says how nice they are and stuff but he has not been very supportive of my idea to do it more professionally.

the day after we worked out my savings he was getting ready to leave for work and seemed a little deflated. turns out work is annoying him at the moment and we got into a discussion about retirement ages. he said how he felt sorry for the people that do manual labour as he couldn't imagine having to work until he was 70 doing that kind of job, let alone his own job.

i threw into the conversation that i didn't think i could do my job until i was 70 as i run around like a headless chicken all day and didn't fancy having hip replacements on a weekly basis..

he then stuck the spanner in..

"maybe it's time you start thinking about investing your savings into converting the second garage into a kitchen and starting your own business..."

i think i know his game...i think he thinks that it will maybe stop me going to Australia? 





so do i follow my dream of going traveling around the beautiful Australia? or do i follow my other dream of baking as a career? 

ARRRGGHHHHH 


i have asked a few people i know what they think and they have all said that even though the kitchen idea is a great one, its something that can be done when i get back. Australia is best travelled when you have nothing to hold you back, no commitments...

any advice from you guys would be muchly appreciated as i am well and truly stuck!


foodurday


i didn't have much planned for my day off before last night...
fran and i decided to go for breakfast this morning which was really nice, the laughs flowed and we did some light shopping.

i then came home expecting to be going out for a coffee with my mum and auntie...but no...we went for a full on italian which was also lush..pasta with a creaming sauce with mushrooms, chicken, garlic and a hint of chilli...

by this point my tummy was over joyed and at the point of bursting...

then came my evening plans with one of my nearest and dearest friends, ruth.
tomorrow is her birthday and i wanted to treat her to a night in with laughs, chinese and some light baking.
i collected her at just gone 3.30pm and we commenced with the baking..



i finally got round to baking these bad boys, Ferrero Rocher cupcakes! i have been wanting to do them for a few weeks but haven't been able to.

i didn't bother to do a step by step guide for these as i was to busy chatting but they are so easy to make. just whip up a batch of your favourite chocolate cupcakes, core them, fill with nutella and stuff with a ferrero rocher!

i believe ruth said "Crumbs in my lap, chocolate smeared on my boobs...these are the signs of a good cake!"

all in all a brilliant day! we laughed a lot and i look forward to doing it again soon!


happy baking all!


The Londoner's charity bake sale...


rosie over at the londoner is holding a charity bake sale this saturday between 3pm and 6pm @ Bumpkin in south ken.

its a great way to raise money for two very important charities but its also a great way to make friends with other bloggers, get advice and also stuff your faces with cakes and other baked goods.


i had my heart set on baking up a storm and travelling up to london for this but sadly because of the short notice i cannot make it due to work.

all of you bloggers out there that read this blog and live in london, think of poor me working late night saturday and all day sunday and bake something for the event..

go on...you know you want to!

for more info see her blog post

Stop...cupcake time...

i started typing this post as a moan about how severely let down i feel, but i decided against it as that really is boring to everyone and in the long run more fool them...

so instead i am going to attempt to cheer myself up by talking about something i am passionate about and would really like to take up as more than just a hobbie and occasional money maker.


i have thought about going in to business with it before but have always been put off by the fact that i had heard people say that you need a separate kitchen to do it professionally and a food hygiene thingy from a college or whatever...


but actually thats not strictly true, you can do the food hygiene online to get the certificate required AND you can go through your local council and get them to do a visit to your home to check everything out in your kitchen.


this to me sounds a hell of a lot more appealing now, especially after all the positive comments on here from my previous post.

just going to look into starting off small, perhaps some charity events and small bake sales...maybe farmers markets? see how it all goes and then who knows!




may have to get myself one of these beauties...oh...and maybe Olegs costume!