Saturday, 3 October 2015

AlphaBakes "J" Round up

Huge apologies for the late roundup of September's AlphaBakes. I've been just a little busy preparing for my wedding next week and there's still lots to do! Caroline from Caroline Makes has already announced the letter for October which is W. I'm sure it was purely a coincidence that it's my wedding month! I am planning to bake some cupcakes for the wedding (time permitting) so if successful, I will share it with you all as my AlphaBakes entry this month. On to the September J entries for now and I'll see you all back in November.  

Caroline's mum Jacqueline baked a flower shaped bundt cake with jam inside which looks delicious. 

Elizabeth from the Law Student's Cookbook made a Jalapeno Bacon Cornbread. She served it with fried chicken and I'm sure it was devoured with gusto.

Next is my entry with Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes with bramble jelly. It's a delicious chocolate blackberry cupcake with bramble jelly filling and a blackberry frosting. They received rave reviews and I have been asked to bake them for a Great Ormond Street charity event as their colour is purple.

Lili from Lili's Cakes made Jamaican Ginger Cupcakes with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream. They were made for climbing trip so was eaten without frosting but a fellow climber encouraged her to add frosting and I'm sure you will agree that it looks really tempting! I particularly like her picture illustration of the method.

Stuart from Cakeyboi baked Limoncello and Raspberry Jam Swirl Cupcakes for national cupcake week. He describes them as sweet, citrusy and boozy - what more could you want from a cupcake?
Limoncello and raspberry jam swirl cupcakes

Next we have Kate from the Gluten Free Alchemist with her Vanilla Swiss Roll which is dairy free and gluten free. She filled it with her homemade strawberry and rhubarb jam which sounds delicious. 

Speaking of homemade jam, Choclette from Tin and Thyme also used her own jam with these Apricot Vanilla Buns. She's re-invented the British bun using spelt and freekah flour and her own homemade vanilla apricot jam.

Apricot Vanilla Buns

Dom from Belleau Kitchen made some refreshing and delicious sounding juices with his new Jason Vale Retro Juicer. He shared his recipes for Pear, Parsnip and Ginger Juice as well as a 'walking on sunshine' juice.

Jean from Baking in Franglais sent in Jo's Rhubarb Flapjacks. Jo is her brother's daughter and an accomplished cook who is not quite 18. These flapjacks are chewy with a layer of rhubarb in the middle. 

jo's flapjacks4

My co-host Caroline from Caroline Makes made Jareth's Temptation inspired by her favourite 80s movie Labyrinth. It's a simple dessert with peaches, cream,meringue and pomegranate. I think I need to rent the film now!

Suelle from Mainly Baking managed to find time to bake a Jam-swirled Crumb Cake despite being on holiday for a lot of September. It's a good store cupboard recipe and although this did not turn out exactly as she wanted, I'm sure it tasted really good.

Last but not least we have Solange from Pebble Soup with her Gold Kiwi and Pineapple Jam. I love the bright colour of the jam and the flavour combination sounds delicious.

That's the end of the J round up. We look forward to your October entries hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and I will see you back here in November.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Leftover Blackberry frosting cookies with white chocolate

Quick post today to tell you about a little experiment in the kitchen. I made some chocolate and blackerry cupcakes recently and had some leftover frosting. I've used leftover frosting to make cookies previously and as I've never had a blackberry cookie I thought it would be interesting to try. The frosting is made of blackberry puree, icing sugar and butter. Butter and sugar are basic ingredients for cookies so I added in flour and and an egg. The mixture then looked a little grey so I added a handful of fresh blackberries as well which I managed to get in the reduced aisle for 10p a box! It gave the mixture a lovely purple hue and boosted the blacberry flavour. I added in about 50g of white chocolate chips to give some contrast and sweetness. The cookie dough was really soft - in hindsight I should have added more flour but I baked them anyway and they turned out like soft baked cookies. They tasted like a cross between a cookie and a cake. It was slightly crispy around the edges but soft in the middle. The flavour combination of blackberry and white chocolate was delicious! I will now have to experiment with making actual blackberry cookies. Has anyone tried a blackberry cookie before?

I'm sending this to the No Waste Food Challenge guest hosted this month by Claire from Foodie Quine on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. This recipe uses up leftover blackberry frostings and part of a reduced box of blackberries which have just gone past their sell by date. 

I'm also sending it to Credit Crunch Munch as this is quite a frugal recipe using leftovers and store cupboard ingredients. The challenge is hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All

 leftover blackberry frosting 

 adding a handful of fresh blackberries as the mixture looked a little grey
 adding in white chocolate chips

 Blackberry and white chocolate cookies! 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes

It's been a busy start to September mainly because I was away in Venice to celebrate my birthday over the weekend. I had a lovely chocolate dome cake from a bakery there on my birthday which was absolutely delicious! I was so excited I didn't even take a picture before tucking in. 

I love birthdays and I tend to have prolonged celebrations each year. Obviously a birthday is not really a birthday without cake and lots of it! On my return I decided to bake some cupcakes to continue the celebrations. I chose these flavours so I could enter them into several blogging challenges this month. I initially wanted to bake the cake with blackberry jam but just couldn't find it in the shops.  Lots of blackcurrant jam but no blackberry jam! I did however find some bramble jelly which is made from blacberries so I've incorporated that into the recipe. 

I adapated a recipe from BBC Good Food and it turned out beautifully. The cake was light and chocolatey but not overly so. You can clearly taste the blackberries and I loved the jelly in the middle. The icing was my favourite part as it uses blackberry puree for the flavour and colour. Everyone thought they were really good and they disappeared really quickly. I have some leftover frosting so I will be baking them into cookies. I've never had a blackberry cookie before so I'm quite excited to try it out.

I'm sending this to a few challenges this month.

AlphaBakes hosted by myself this month and Caroline from Caroline Makes on alternate months. The letter this month is J for Jelly.

We Should Cocoa hosted by Kate from The Veg Space on behalf of Choclette from Tin and Thyme. The theme this month is blackberries.

Simply Eggcellent hosted by Dom from Belleau Kitchen. The theme this month is cakes as it's also Dom's birthday in September. Happy Birthday in advance Dom!

Treat Petite hosted by Stuart from Cakeyboi and Kat from The Baking Explorer. The theme this month is anything goes. 

The Vegetable Palette and Fruit Palette hosted by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table. The theme this month is Purple and Blues.

 The mixture is very liquid but don't worry. I love the colour of the blackberries. 

 adding a generous layer of jelly before baking 

 after baking 

 I love that you can see a bit of the jelly poking out under the gorgeous frosting which is has a really pretty colour and tastes good too! 

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food
For the cupcakes - makes 15 cupcakes
300g blackberries, divided into two portions of 150g each 
100g butter
100g milk chocolate
225g self raising flour
175g coconut sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 eggs
100mls boiling water 

For the frosting
100g butter
400g icing sugar
Blackberry puree - see recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Place 150g blackberries in a bowl and roughly crush with a fork so the juices are running but there are still chunky bits of fruit left.
  • In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate and allow to cool slightly. 
  • Crack 2 eggs into the chocolate-butter mixture and whisk briefly. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar and coocoa powder.
  • Mix the wet and dry ingredients together adding in the crushed blackberries. Add the boiling water and mix well. The mixture will be very liquid at this stage. 
  • Divide the cake mixture between the cupcake cases and fill until approximately 2/3 full.
  • Place a large spoonful of bramble jelly on top of each cupcake.
  • Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting, place the remaining 150g blackberries in a food processor and whizz until pureed.
  • Place in a strainer and strain the pureed blackberries. 
  • Beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth - about 5 minutes in an electric mixer.
  • Add in the sieved blackberry puree and mix well.
  • Decorate the cake using a piping bag and piping nozzle. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

AlphaBakes September 2015

Welccome to September's AlphaBakes. Can you believe it's the end of summer already? We've had a few tricky letters recently so you'll be pleased to know that this month is a much easier letter. If you haven't already seen the fabulous 'Z' roundup on Caroline's blog, do head on over to have a look. Without further ado, the letter we are using this month is ...

Look forward to seeing all your Jamming J entries! Entry is via the linky tool below and if for some reason it's not working then please email by 25th September 2015.

Quick reminder of the rules....

1. Post your RECIPE on your blog and link it to The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes, stating the relevant month's host. If you do not have a blog, email us a picture and a brief description of your entry which we will include in the round-up at the end of the month.

2. You can use your own RECIPE or someone else's RECIPE. The recipe can be sweet, savoury or a mixture! Anything goes as long as the random letter is predominantly featured in the recipe as one of the main ingredients or flavours or in the name of the bake itself (i .e . not as a garnish , or using 'flour' for the letter F!) You can also republish old posts/RECIPES but you must include the information for this challenge as stated in these rules.

3. Add the logo to your post and add 'alphabakes' as a label to your post.

4. Entry is via the linky tool below. Alternatively, you can email your entries to by midnight (GMT) 25th of each month. Please include:

  • Your name (that you want included in the round up or we will use the name of your blog) 
  • Your blog post URL 
  • RECIPE title 
  • Photo of RECIPE (to be included in the round up) 
5. You can submit as many entries as you like.

6. You do not have to participate every month to join in.

7. You may submit your entry to other challenges as long as it complies with their rules.

8. If you use twitter, please use the tag #alphabakes and mention @bakingaddict and @Caroline_Makes. We will retweet all those that we see.

9. Have fun! :)

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Muffins with Cranberry and Pecans

It's another courgette recipe but it's too good not to share. I saw this on Brown Eyed Baker and the flavour combination really appealed to me. As with my previous post on biscotti, this has a distinctively festive flavour with the orange, pecan and cranberry.  The muffins were quick and easy to put together and made for a substantial breakfast. You can clearly taste the tangy marmalade which pairs well with the cranberry and pecan. You can actually see bits of green from the courgette in the muffin not that it put anyone off. I brought this to a work breakfast do and they were a real hit. Definitely on the bake again list. I also experimented with coconut sugar rather than caster sugar and to be honest I couldn't taste the difference. I was worried that it would have a coconut taste but it didn't so I will definitely be using more of my coconut sugar in the future. I like to think that this is healthier for me as it has courgettes, coconut sugar, dried fruit and nut! 

I'm sending this to a few blog challenges this month.

AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and co hosted by myself on alternate months. The letter this month is Z for Zucchini also known as courgette. 

Extra Veg challenge hosted by Jen from Jen's Food this month. The challenge is run by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle from Utterly Scrummy. These muffins are a great way to incorporate extra veg into your diet.

Simple and in Season hosted by Ren as courgettes are currently in season. 

No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I used up the end of a jar of marmalade, an open pack of dried cranberries and a pack of pecans which I bought for something else. There was also 1 courgette left in the fridge which was exactly what I needed. 

 adding (strained) finely grated courgette 

 adding dried cranberries and pecan nuts 

 place a pecan nut on top of each muffin before baking 

 I love how you can see the green flecks from the courgette 

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker 
Makes 12 muffins 

185g plain flour
125g coconut sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
80mls vegetable oil
100g orange marmalade (I used 125g as that was all that was left in the jar) 
50g pecans, roughly chopped
120g dried cranberries
1 courgette, finely grated and strained well

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ground cinnamon.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and marmalade. Stir in the courgette. 
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix briefly.
  • Add in the dried cranberries and pecans and stir until just mixed.
  • Divide evenly between 12 muffin cases.
  • Place a whole pecan on top of each muffin before baking.
  • Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.