This is all about one of my great loves-baking! Cupcakes are what I really love making,
however I enjoy all baking, anything from a simple Victoria Sponge, puddings, bread, biscuits
to Game Pies and a good old Sunday Roast!! I will share some of my baking experiences
with you; recipes that I think everyone should know about and some of my funny
and distastrous moments. This will not be restricted just to the kitchen!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Afternoon Tea with Pimms!!

On Saturday I had some old friends to tea;  partly as I had not seen them all for ages and partly because Sally is getting maried soon.  I thought it would be lovely to enjoy the July sunshine while drinking Pimms and sampling some new recipes that I had not tried before.  One jug of Pimms, soon became two and of course we had to open some bubbles, in order to toast the bride to be!! 
In the cake department we had Pecan and Maple Syrup Sponge, Strawberry and Cream Dreams (my made up cakes, put together with spare Vanilla Cupcakes and what I had in the fridge-you can of course use any combination of fruit and any filling/topping).  I made a few wedding themed cupcakes for Sally and afternoon tea, would not be complete without scones, cream and homemade strawberry jam too!

Pecan and Maple Syrup Sponge (from the Hummingbird Bakery book-Cake Days)


120g (4oz) softish unsalted butter
400g (14oz) caster sugar
360g (12.5oz) plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 sp salt
360ml (12.5 fl oz) full fat milk
40ml (11.5 fl oz) maple syrup
3 large eggs
100g (3.5 oz) Pecans

-Before starting preheat the oven to 170 (350 or gas mark 3) and prepare three 20cm (8"), loosebottomed, greased and lined sandwich tins.  (I find Wilton's cake release very handy and simply line the bottom of the tin with greaseproof paper).
-Mix the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder together using a hand held or freestanding electric mixer until the mixture has a crumb like consistancy.
-In a seperate bowl or a jug, mix together the milk, eggs and maple syrup.  (I find whisking with a fork, in a jug the easiest way to do this).
-Slowly add the to the dry ingredients, with the mixer on a low speed.  Once all the ingredients are evenly mixed up, stir in the pecans by hand.
-Divide the cake mixture into the three cake tins that you have already prepared.  Bake for approx 20-25 minutes until the sponges are golden brown and spring back when gently pushed with your (clean) finger!!  Allow to stand for a few mintues, before turning onto cooling racks.
-While your cakes are cooling, you can prepare the icing.

120g (4oz) unsalted butter
750g (1lb 10oz) icing sugar
1 Tbs maple syrup
60ml (2 floz) whole milk
whole pecans to decorate

-Using you hand held or free standing whisk slowly mix all your ingedients together until the icing is light, fluffy and ever so creamy.
-Place your bottom layer of (cooled) cake onto a plake or cake stand.  Using a palette knife spread the icing on to the base cake.  Repeat this procedure, having applied the second and third cake to the base cake.  You will then need to spread the remainer of the icing on the top and sides of the cake.
-Do not put to much icing in between each layer or you will not have enought to complete the sides and top
-Once you have iced the entire cake, decorate with a few whole pecans and serve to your hungry guests!!

Strawberry Cream Dreams

225g (8oz) stork margarine, caster sugar, supreme sponge flour
4 eggs
vanilla extract

-Cream the butter and sugar togther with a wooden spoon.
-In a sperate bowl whisk each egg seperately and beat into the sugar and stork mixture, one at a time.
-Sieve the supreme sponge flour into the above mixture and add the vanilla flavouring
-Gently fold with a metal table spoon, ensuring that you get plenty of air into the mixture, do not beat as your sponge will not be light and airy!!
-divide equally into muffin cases in a muffin tin (approx 12), fill the cases about 2/3 full of mixture
-bake in the oven for approx 15 minutes, until golden brown and springy to the touch.
-Once removed from the oven, remove from the tin immediatly and place on a baking tray to cool.
-While they are cooling prepare your chosen fruit and filling.  On this occasion I used double cream (whipped), strawberries and tiny mint leaves.
-Once cooled, carefully remove the muffin wrappers, cut in half, fill with cream (I tend to pipe as you get a neater look) and strawberries.  Sieve a little icing sugar over the completed cakes and decorate with fresh cream, a slice of strawberry and  a fresh mint leaf.



Morsels of loveliness on a plate!!


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