Friday, 30 December 2011

Cupcake of the Week - Candy Cane Cupcakes

Ok, I know it's a little late for festive cupcakes, but these are too pretty to leave behind! The recipe was taken from the more recent Hummingbird Bakery book, 'Cake Days'. It uses a vanilla sponge and a two-colour piped frosting with peppermint extract to give that candy cane flavour. However, I struggled with the piping and decided to swirl the two with a fork instead.

The super pretty one you can see in the middle is my Mum's piped one! She is the expert when it comes to making them look pretty - I'm a bit slapdash!


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Snow White - Chanel S/S 2012

The perfect antidote to all the black of this winter's wardrobe: white. Clean, crisp white. And who else to do it better than the eternally chic Chanel?

The collection for this coming season features the usual Chanel staples: wide-sleeved blazers, ruffles, shift dresses. Black does make an entrance, but this is most notable in geometric designs spread across otherwise delicate dresses (above); or in the tiniest detail, on strappy shoes or outlining jacket collars and sleeves (below).

We also see a hint of ice cream pastel shades, reminiscent of the trend back in S/S 10.

It's not my favourite Chanel collection ever... but I do love a little white dress. What are your thoughts?


Images from

Thursday, 22 December 2011

My First Yule Log

As you may have noticed through my posts on this blog, I am not the most technical of bakers. I prefer to chuck it all in the oven, take it out and eat it, fast. But I know that there comes a time when every baker has to step outside that comfort zone, and I was sure that making a yule log would be an example of taking that step.


I should have trusted Nigella from the start. This one, taken from Nigella Lawson's beautiful book 'Feast', was surprisingly easy to prepare (and immensely satisfying to eat). You simply bake a thin, meringue-like chocolate cake, poured out on a baking sheet; then make the frosting; spread it on; roll it up and coat it. You have a chance to get creative with the 'log' look too. The frosting was like no other, and the recipe made gallons of it, so it was enormously thick.

This one I made for my first roast dinner at uni at my friend Gemma's house (which was a divine feast, and many thanks to all involved, might I add). But my parents have now requested I make one for Christmas day! I was so proud of this one that I'm a little nervous of how the next one will turn out. Fingers crossed...


Folding the chocolatey and eggy parts of the cake mixture together...

... the baked cake...

... rolled up with a layer of frosting

Monday, 19 December 2011

Snow-Flecked Rocky Road

I don't often invent recipes. I lack the cheffy confidence and don't like to risk wasting ingredients on a disaster. However, with something as easy as rocky road the opportunities for invention are endless. So, I decided to put my own festive spin on the usual method and cater to what was in my cupboard.

In this one I melted 600g of milk chocolate and added a few drops of peppermint flavouring. Then I folded in marshmallows, mixed nuts and raisins. Finally I refrigerated, chopped into squares and dusted in icing sugar.

Occasionally I add golden syrup to rocky road for a chewy texture, but this does seem to make it thicken very quickly, so if you do, add it in moderation and add the rest of your ingredients quickly before it cools and solidifies.


Friday, 16 December 2011

Cupcake of the Week - Snow Angel Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a play on traditional angel cake, using cochineal (red-pink) food colouring and dusted with icing sugar!

I won't direct you to the recipe, which I found online, because unfortunately it turned out a bit of a disaster. As pretty as they look here, a couple of days later they had turned completely chewy! A huge amount of egg whites were used - maybe that had something to with it?


Whisking the egg whites

Adding the food colouring

Monday, 12 December 2011

Banoffee Pie

My dear friend Daisy and I seem fixated on achieving the perfect banoffee pie, and still are yet to achieve it... but this came close!

The recipe was taken from the book 'Everyday Desserts' (published by Parragon) and was very easy to follow, but our toffee was still a little runny afterwards. I think it's just because we are always in a rush to take it somewhere, and so never get the chance to boil the condensed milk for the recommended time. 
Either that or my standing the tins up in the pan as opposed to lying them sideways wasted us a lot of time...

Anyway, here's Daisy baking away!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

'It' Dresses - on the high street

£7.99, H&M

This week I tried to get a ton of Christmas shopping done in one go - and thankfully, had a pretty successful trip. But that doesn't mean I was blind to all of the beautiful dresses on the high street!

Here are some of my favourites. Velvet certainly seems to be a recurring theme, but there's something controversial about it; it's very 90s. You either love it or you hate it. Personally, I have a real weakness for it - especially when it costs just £7.99 (above)!

I love that deep festive pine colour at Christmas, so the dress from Zara (below) really caught my eye. And delicate lace dresses look beautiful whatever the time of year, so I had to include the bargain from H&M (bottom).

What kind of party dress will you be wearing this season?


£24.99, H&M

£29.99, Zara

£30, Topshop
£14.99, H&M

Monday, 5 December 2011

Amazing Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies were a million times better than those last cupcake attempts, and yet they were from the same book!

Seriously, these were divine. Easy to make, chewy and chunky at the same time, and produced an immense batch of 39! I took half of them round to my friends' around the corner, and they vanished in one sitting.

The only suggestion for improvement would be chocolate chunks, which the recipe called for, but I didn't happen to have. Next time for sure!


Friday, 2 December 2011

Cupcake of the Week - Peaches & Cream

... and possibly my first cupcake failure!

This time I attempted something a bit different - a cupcake which had canned peaches in the bottom, and vanilla frosting on top, with a sprinkle of brown sugar. It was yet another recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, so far proven failsafe, so I expected greatness... but alas, I was met with disaster!

For some reason the sponge didn't really rise, so there was a very small, very soggy amount in each one. Then the frosting seemed too wet so I added extra icing sugar, only to find that it became lumpy and unattractive. What a shambles!

Unfortunately their yummy flavour didn't make up for their lack of beauty, and they lingered in the fridge for a while, eventually meeting a fate worse than consumption - the bin.

Better luck next time I guess! Please share with me your cupcake disasters so I feel a little better!