27 November 2010


I went to the first night of the Christmas market at Oxford Castle last night but didn't manage to have an lebkuchen to go with my mulled wine, so took it upon myself to make some this evening!

I used the BBC Good Food recipe (its the first time I've made lebkuchen before) and I'm quite pleased with them!  The taste is gingery but the honey and cinnamon make them taste very 'German' according to my mother - might have to test them on my German friend too to see what she thinks! 

Lebkuchen (makes 30)
250g plain flour
85g ground almonds
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch each of ground cloves, grated nutmeg and black pepper
200ml clear honey
85g butter
zest from 1 lemon

100g icing sugar
1 egg white, beaten

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C and line baking trays with baking parchment.
2) Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3) Heat the honey and butter together over low heat until the butter melts then pour over the dry mixture and add the lemon zest - mix well until the dough is combined and fairly solid.
4) Using your hands roll the dough into 30 balls and flatten them into disks, placing them on the baking trays. Bake for 15 minutes.
5) For the icing  mix the icing sugar and egg white with 1-2tbsp water to form a smooth icing to spread on cooled biscuits.

15 November 2010

Halloween Cupcakes!!!

My friend had a Halloween party so I took it upon myself to make Halloween cupcakes!  I used the Hummingbird chocolate sponge for all of them and the frosting is all swiss merringue buttercream.

I had a total nightmare making these as I tried to use the oven in my flat for the first time and after half the cakes literally exploded and burnt in bizarre places I decided it was the oven (not me), went to my Mum's house and produced 2 batches of perfect cupcakes so my oven remains safely switched off at the socket in disgrace!

pumpkin cupcake, halloween cupcake
Little chocolate and orange pumpkins

ghost cupcakes
My ghosties have chocolate frosting underneath their royal icing sheets!

halloween cupcakes
Rose flavoured icing with gummy spiders.


halloween cupcakes
Mint icing with royal icing witches' hats.

The recipe I used can her found here.

My sister's birthday

I couldn't make it up to see my younger sister on her birthday this year so naturally I sent my parents up with a cake precariously balanced under a Tupperware box on my mother’s knee in the car.  When we were little and got chocolate from the supermarket as a ‘treat’ my sister almost always had maltesers and nobody can say no to a chocolate cake so I wanted to combine the two for her birthday.

I've made cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery book and the recipes say if you double quantities you will have enough batter to make a 3-layer cake.  Obviously I had to try this to see if the rumours are true.

chocolate cake, hummingbird bakey, chocolate cupcakes, maltesers

Whilst the sponge was very moist and light it was too light for a layer cake and every time I tried to move it, the cake almost fell apart - not ideal!  It did taste delicious though!

I don’t like sugary American frostings too much and have just learnt to make swiss meringue buttercream so I flavoured it chocolate and went to town icing the cake.  

Hummingbird chocolate cupcakes (makes 12 cupcakes; double quantities for layer cake)
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat the oven to 170C
2) Combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter and beat on slow speed until everything is combined.
3) Whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla extract and slowly pour into the flour mixture, beating to combine - do not overmix.
4) Spoon the mix into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool before icing.

*To make a layer cake double the quantities and use three 20 cm cake pans.*