Pancake Day is finally here, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday. Way back in history the idea was to give up ingredients such as eggs, milk and butter for lent.
Now i fully love the idea of using up ingredients and gorging on sugary pancakes filled with nutella, peanut butter, syrup or just plain old lemon - it's enough to send me detoxing for at least a couple of days after! (but perhaps not the entire lent period)
To celebrate this wonderous day, i dragged a friend along to the new Creme de la Crepe in Covent Garden. It's a small haven within Covent Garden market and sells pancakes at barginious prices. With offerings such as Cheeky Monkey (nutella and banana) and banoffee pie on the sweet menu, we headed straight for dessert! We were not let down, my Milkybar kid (white chocolate with fresh strawberries) was amazing and has now surpassed nutella and peanut butter as my favourite pancake flavour.
Creme de la Crepe is definately worth a visit when your next in the area, the staff are super friendly and made evert effort to find us a table, despite the place being packed. I'm already planning what to have on my return!
Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl, then seperate the eggs and leave the whites to one side. Next add the egg yolk, self raising flour, cocoa powder and milk. Once this mixture is smooth and creamy, whisk the eggs whites until you get stiff peaks.
After dividing the mixture into the cupcake cases they need to bake for approximately 13-14 minutes.
Leave the cupcakes to cool for a couple of minutes before moving onto a wire rack. Forgot about the cupcakes for around 30 minutes before making the buttercream topping.
Simply put the butter, sugar, colouring and vanilla essence into a bowl and mix with an electric whisk.
Finally put the buttercream on top of the cupcakes and add the Cadbury's chocolate buttons for decoration.
I have become obsessed with using up ingredients of late. We had one browning banana left in the fruit bowl and instead of automatically chucking, i thought 'why not bake a cake?' I usually go for banana loaf, but as i've got a serious sweet tooth at the moment (apparently the baby develops its sweet tooth from 25 weeks...honest!) i went for banana syrup cupcakes instead. I have adapted this recipe from the Waitrose website, if you want to look at the original.
To make 12 small(ish) cupcakes you will need
Base1 ripe banana 50ml golden syrup 75g unsalted butter 25g granulated sugar 100g sifted self raising flour 1/4 tsp baking powder 2 medium eggs 50g grounded brazil nuts
Icing 75g unsalted butter 3 tbsps golden syrup 1 tbsp milk yellow food colouring brazil nut halves for decoration
Preheat your oven to 180c before starting on the cake mixture and line the cupcake tray with cases.
Next you need to mush your banana up, baby food style in a bowl and add the golden syrup. Set this bowl to one side, then in a seperate bowl mix the sugar, butter, baking powder, eggs and flour.
Once you have a nice creamy consistency add the banana mush and mix into the rest of the ingredients. Finally add the grounded brazil nuts and stir in well.
Divide the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 14-15 minutes
Tip - you probably need 2-3 teaspoons of batter for each case as a general rule.
Once the cupcakes have baked and cooled, you can get cracking with the buttercream topping. Mix the butter and syrup in a bowl along with some milk. Tip - add the golden syrup gradually to get the correct consistency
If you wish, you can use some food colouring to jazz the cupcakes up a bit, i chose yellow to properly round off the banana theme! Finally, chop some brazil nuts in half to use as decoration.
For some reason unbeknown to me, Hubs has been nagging me to bake madeleines for months. I've always thought they look pretty dull, but as he's a complete Francophile he insisted they were sophisticated. Finally i relented, desperate for some peace and quiet!
As it turns out they are lovely! And so simple to make, the whole process only takes 20 minutes so its ideal if you need to make something in a hurry. Chances are you'll have all the ingredients in your store cupboard too.
So to make 9 madeleines you will need:
1 medium egg 1 large orange (for the zest) 55g caster sugar 50g unsalted butter (plus extra for the moulds) 50g sifted self-raising flour dash of vanilla essence Icing sugar for decoration
Firstly you need to pre-heat your oven to 190c and use some butter to grease the madeleine moulds.
Next whisk up the egg and caster sugar into a paste, then add the flour, softened butter and orange zest. Finally add some vanilla essence before whisking up into a paste.
Now place your mixture into the madeleine moulds using a teaspoon to even out. The madeleines will need to bake for approximately 7-8 minutes.
Once the madeleines have cooked, leave them for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. To make them look even prettier, decorate with a teaspoon of sifted icing sugar and serve with a nice brew.
I have to say, i don't normally buy into Valentine's Day, but this year i thought hubby deserved an extra special treat. It been a dramatic week with our cat Molly who is very poorly and any man who can gracefully put up with pregnancy hormones deserves a sainthood!
So anyway, mentioned pregnancy means tight purse strings so i searched the house for ingredients already about. In the end i decided upon lemon sponge cupcakes with red vanilla buttercream...
Ingredients- makes 12 cupcakes 1 lemon (juice and rind) 125g caster sugar 2 medium eggs 125g lightly salted butter 125g self raising flour
For the Icing 350g caster sugar 175g lightly salted butter 3 tsps boiling water Few drops of vanilla essence Few drops of red colouring
First whack the oven up to 190c, you need that oven warm before attempting to bake. Whilst the ovens doing its thing, you can start on the batter by blending the butter and sugar together before adding the lemon, flour and the egg yolk. Mix all these ingredients together well, it should have a off-beige colour and your arm should be aching! Finally, whip up the egg whites seperately and fold into the mixture.
Tip - use lightly salted butter over the ordinary variety, especially when making a buttercream topping. Otherwise it can taste far too salty!!
Divide the mixture into cupcake cases, i usually find that 2 teaspoons in each case does the trick, and level out with the back of the spoon. Once they are as level as you can get them you can pop them in the oven to bake for around 12-15 minutes.
Tip - Its best to check after 12 minutes with a toothpick or knife, if there is no gooey mixture, it means they're done!
So once you've left your cupcakes to cool for at least an hour, start on the buttercream. This is my all time favourite topping and its soo easy peasy to do. Basically, just whack all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl (remembering to sift the icing sugar first) and whisk away until smooth.
Finally, you're ready for making the cakes look pretty! This is all down to personal preference, just make sure you put the decorations on before the buttercream dries!