Kitchen

Baking up a storm.

We all know I am a firm believer of home baking. I mean, why go out and spend £2.00 on a tray of cupcakes or muffins when you can bake them yourself and they’ll taste much better?! It’s the same with pies, etc. A good bonus with baking things yourself, is that you know exactly what you’ve put into them. One thing I absolutely hate about buying fruit pies from shops is the fact the juices from the fruit are way too thick, which I’m convinced they add something like cornflour to to thicken it up. Plus the pastry is always very dry.

After my last post about The Great Macaron Baking Adventure I have fallen even more in love with baking. Being able to recreate (Even if it isn’t as beautiful as the photographs you see next to your recipe in the book) something you’ve read about and heard so many great things about is a great feeling. After the post mentioned above about the baking adventure itself, I mixed up some chocolate buttercream (from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days book) to fill them with. The buttercream piped like an absolute dream and contrasted nicely against the pastel pink of my macarons. I’d never tasted a macaron before baking them, so it was all a very new experience for me. I can safely say I am hooked on them. If I could bake a batch a week to perfect the recipe, I would!

Pink macarons filled with chocolate buttercream.
Pink macarons filled with chocolate buttercream.

Before I went on my macaron baking adventure, I spent a bit of time with a good friend of mine and we decided to test out a recipe she was going to use for her 21st birthday party. We’ve all seen the cupcakes baked in flat bottom ice cream cones right? Well that’s what we made! My friend did stand there for a few moments when we started mixing, wondering how we were going to keep the cones standing up… Which is where all of those hours on Pinterest have come in handy. I remember seeing on there a while back a good little cheat to keep the cones standing (uneven bottoms on cones cause this, and we do not all have very steady hands!) where you cover a muffin tray with foil and then put a X in the middle of each hole where a muffin case should sit, then you pop the cone in and the foil holds it in place nicely. The sponge recipe was one by Mary Berry and then we decided to add a tonne of sprinkles into the batter to make Funfetti cakes (How very American of us.) I can’t remember exactly how long we baked them for, but it was the usual rule of until a skewer comes out of the middles clean. We had a couple of cones split on us but that wasn’t anything dramatic. We followed a recipe from Pinterest for the marshmallow topping which was rather fun to make (and very tasty on plain digestive biscuits if you have any left over!) One major issue with it, is it is a bit of a pain to pipe and is VERY sticky! Once we’d put them in the freezer for long enough to set the marshmallow, we dunked them in melted chocolate and put them back in the freezer. For a first attempt they were great and there was only one perfect cake which is the one pictured below. I personally found them a touch too sickly and I’m not a huge fan on ice cream cones anyway (Unless they’re the wafer ones, I’m all over them like a rash!)

Funfetti sponge cake with marshmallow topping dipped in chocolate.

Another recent baking adventure was one I’ve been wanting to do for some time and quite possibly the best first attempt at anything I’ve ever done. I was bought The Baking Bible  for my birthday a few years back now and everytime I sat down and flicked through it, the photograph of the Chocolate Whoopie Pies filled with Vanilla Buttercream always caught my eye. So one morning when Aimee came round for breakfast, we decided it was about time I made them! I got a little too happy on my piping so some of them do look like little turds (Excuse my vulgar reference, but sadly it is true!) However they taste amazing! There are so many variations of whoopie pies, and I’ve got my eyes set on using some of my canned pumpkin later on in the year to make Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. One down fall we all found with these whoopie pies, apart from being rather moreish, was they make a right mess when you eat them!

Chocolate whoopie pies with vanilla buttercream.

My latest baking spree was practically tradition for my mother and me. Apple and blackberry pies. With my Nan and Grandad living out in the countryside, there are always numerous hedgerows with blackberries growing, however over the past couple of years, they have been growing thornless blackberry plants in their fruit cage at the end of their garden. Mum and my Nan picked a tonne of blackberries and we finally made the pies. Both of them baked beautifully and tasted equally as yummy!

Apple and blackberry pies with lattice tops.
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