Sunday, 29 April 2012

'L' is for...Lychee and Lavender Butterfly Cakes

Lychee and Lavender Butterfly Cakes
An explosion of tastes 
Sponge cakes with chopped fresh lychees, lavender flowers and a hint of lemon.
Filled with a delicate fusion of rose flavoured butter cream, and topped with half a chocolate Champagne truffle, a chocolate amaretto flute and pink shimmer sugar.
Enjoy….M x
These little gems are totally my own creation... I thought long and hard about the letter L...I could of opted for the easy, lemon, lime or a mixture of the two. But a suggestion from my husband helped with the development of this one....Oh and also a trip to Waitrose!
He remembered a trip to Sri Lanka many years ago when Morgan our youngest son, who at the time was 2 years old. We hired a driver during our stay and spent a week travelling up country. Our driver was fantastic and showed us places, experiences and tastes of local food, including fresh cashews, local strawberries, tiny flavorsome bananas  and most importantly fresh picked lychees. Morgan devoured these fresh fruity fruits avidly once we peeled them for him, and the rest of the holiday he almost lived on them. Its a memory that has stayed with both of us, and is defiantly an unusual fruit to add in a cake mix.
So the start of a cupcake was born.....L is for Lavender, and apart from I love the smell and my gran and my mother grew it and we have it in our garden too was just part of the 'L' experiment....the truffle and chocolate sticks I discovered in a real infusion of flavours. My tasters will have the opportunity to taste them tomorrow, but hubs has eaten 2 and gave the thumbs up :)

Ingredients to make 14
8oz cake mix, adding 8oz peeled chopped fresh lychees, 2 tsp dried lavender and a tsp of lemon oil.
Divide mixture into 14 muffin cases and bake at 180degrees until light and springy, then cool on a wire rack.

  •  Cut a slice from the top of each cake and cut this in half for wings and set aside. Make  butter icing or frosting of your choice, I added some rose water to this mixture, and pipe into the centre of each cake. On the top of each cake arrange the "wings" each side of the icing - the sponge side facing the outside and the cut edge to the inside and angled towards the bottom - like BUTTERFLY or FAIRY wings! 
  • Decorate to your choice...I added half a Champagne chocolate truffle and amaretto chocolate sticks, and sprinkles of pink shimmer sugar ( all discovered in Waitrose).
    Hugs 4 smiles M xxx

  • Friday, 27 April 2012

    'K' is for.....Kit Kat Cake

    Weigh-out biscuits were very popular at Woolworth from the 1920s until the early 1980s. The picture shows the selection in the flagship Scottish store in Princes Street, Edinburgh at Christmas, 1959.
    Broken biscuit counter

    Hello Everyone, How are you all today? A little
    late with the cake this week, but life has been very busy. Anyway yesterday was a grey wet day, so I took the wooden spoon and bowl out and spent the afternoon baking. I produced 2 Kit Kat cakes, one for my gang, and one for my loyal tasters! This cake was easy to make and decorate and defiantly has the wow factor for any occasion for tea time treat to a celebration. It is not totally original as you can find lots of recipes and pictures  for this cake on the internet, but I did tweak it, using a mixture of toppings instead of just one.
    Kit Kat's evoke so many childhood memories. My mum always provided good food but there was little money for treats. I can remember going to Woolworths in the days when  it had separate counters for different goods, no shelving systems in those days. We would head to the broken biscuit section, where the assistant behind the counter would weigh out the biscuits and take the payment. The next stop would be Lipton's for groceries, but that's another story.
    My Mum and her friend Doreen would often get together for a bit of a gossip over tea and biscuits while us kids played. I knew during the afternoon we would be offered a glass of squash and and a choice of Kit Kat or a Club biscuit. Oh the sheer delight of unwrapping the chocolate covered delight and savoring every mouthful....Sometimes to make the treat last I would first lick all the chocolate off the biscuit , then slowly nibble the biscuit base. The foil wrapper would not go to waste either as I would make a little foil wine cup! This must of been the start of my artistic career as I recycle materials wherever I can. This link will take you to a bag I made  a few years ago using Smoothie cartons!
    Line two 8" round baking tins and make your favorite chocolate sponge. As you now from previous recipes I use the 'Delia' all in one method. Bake until risen. Turn out on a wire rack to cool.
    I used chocolate spread to sandwich the sponges together. The cake is then covered in chocolate, frosting or butter cream.
    Push fingers of Kit Kat all around the sides, then fill the top with your favorite sweets. I used Smarties, Maltesers & Mini Mallows, Belgian Thins and Chocolate Sticks
    I then tied a red ribbon around the outside which just gives the finishing touch.  Do have a go at making this, it really is very easy to make and looks truly amazing :) Have a great weekend :) Hugs 4 smiles M xxx



    Wednesday, 11 April 2012

    'J' is for.... Jam tarts with a twist!

    "The Queen of Hearts
    She made some tarts,
    All on a summer's day;
    The Knave of Hearts
    He stole those tarts,
    And took them clean away.

    The King of Hearts
    Called for the tarts,
    And beat the knave full sore;
    The Knave of Hearts
    Brought back the tarts,
    And vowed he'd steal no more."

    This nursery rhyme reminds me of my Nan....I remember her singing this when I helped her bake jam tarts.She was one of those traditional Nan's that loved nothing more than her family, and to cook and care for them. She always had a cake or bake in readiness for a friend that may drop by, a few of whatever was in season from the garden to share, oh and at tea time she would put out a well good know I always found it fascinating how she held bread under her arm and cut off the slices. I have mentioned this to many friends and it seems it was a very popular granny thing to do :) In some ways I have inherited some of her traits, especially baking....but I don't cut bread from under my arm!!! Maybe when I am a Granny then I will start doing that!!! he he
    Anyway I decided to 'Jazz Up' the humble jam I said to my daughter when i had finished decorating them...." not just a jam tart, but a 'Maxine's mix ups jam tart'. Three delicious experiences to enjoy. First the iced soft sponge with a vanilla iced topping, then chocolate sicks and strawberries to dip into the whipped cream....then the crispy tart, filled with home made jam"....she said " Please don't be weird Mum".....hey ho!!! 

    I block of shortcrust pastry...or make your own
    Strawberry jam
    6oz sponge mix
    whipped double cream
    chocolate sticks and fresh strawberries to decorate
    runny icing
    Little sugar hearts
    Heat oven to 180c (fan oven)
    Grease a bun tin. Roll out pastry and cut out 12 rounds. Carefully put into each little space and then place a square of baking paper in each case, then fill with baking beans. Bake blind until cooked. Place on a wire rack to cool
    Line a swiss roll tin and make a 6oz mix of sponge, bake until golden and risen, cool on a rack
    Fill each little pastry case with strawberry jam, and fill with some cream.
    Cut small heart shapes from the sponge, ice and decorate with little hearts.
    Place 2 slices of strawberries so they sit upright in cases, add sponge topper, and 2 chocolate sticks....and there you have it...jam tarts with a twist!! Enjoy.....mmmmmm
    Be great if you are having a party for the Queens Diamond Jubilee.....
    I had some pastry cases and sponge left over so I put together some more tarts , and made little jam and cream sponge slices for my Nutty Knitter Ladies. We are a group who meet to sip tea, eat cake and chat ...and well knitting is secondary!!! I don't eat cake but seems these tasters enjoyed them too :)

     Well I hope you have enjoyed my cake ramble....get the whisk and wooden spoons out and make some this weekend :)
    Send me some pics if you do get round to a to see them :)
    Hugs4 smiles
    M xxx

    In 1805 Lewis Carroll published 'Alice in Wonderland', where the Queen of Hearts was famous for the saying "Off with their heads!" when she was annoyed with her servants.In more recent history the term "The Queen of Hearts" was used by Princess Diana during her famous interview with Martin Bashir, when she stated her preference to the title "The Queen of Hearts" to that of Queen of England.

    Monday, 2 April 2012

    'I' is for....Iced banana and citrus cake

    Hello everyone. Back after a short break and a new recipe for you :) Iced banana and citrus cake, an interesting combination, but once again goes back to childhood. One of the stories my mum told me was her first experience of having a banana to eat. During the war years so many things were in limited supply and bananas were very rare indeed. Not sure how her family managed to get any, but they did, and she was given one. My gran showed her how to peel it, and believe it or not she made it last all day, and there started her love of bananas!
    As children we seemed to have bananas in every shape and form, milk shakes, on toast, mashed up in sandwiches, cakes, cooked in their skins, seems they were now in good supply and my mum just had a huge appetite for them.
    Her favorite way of eating them was in a sandwich, mashed up with lemon curd, marmalade or lime jelly....and she would sprinkle sugar over the whole mixture, cut the whole into 4, make a cuppa, and sit down to watch Corrie with her favorite snack :)
    So I have created a cake in her memory, a sponge cake, filled with citrus and butter cream, then iced on top and decorated.
    Funny enough you know how they all say you eventually turn into your mother.....well seems I have.....rarely a day goes by without my daily fix of this sweet fruit!

    Make your usual sponge mix and add 2 mashed bananas, mix to a firm dropping consistency.
    Divide mixture up into 2x8" Tins
    Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean
    Leave to cool on a wire rack
    Fill with a lemon flavor butter cream and a citrus curd, jam or jelly
    Sandwich together and decorate
    I used citrus sprinkles and rice paper daisies for a spring/Easter theme
    Happy baking :)
    Hugs 4 smiles Maxine x