Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cinnamon S'mores Cookie Bars

This is what you make when your sisters get back from California and bring you this amazing stash of goodies:

Aren't they the greatest??! Mint Oreo's (my fave!) Coconut M&M's, Coconut & white choc Lindt, Graham crackers galore - cinnamon and honey flavour (I didn't even know cinnamon flavour existed until they landed in my hands!) jet puffed mallows (and I even got the rectangle variety that have been created just for s'mores - how cool is that!) key lime pie and mint choc chip chewing gum varieties! S'mores cupcake sprinkles, andes mint choc bits and A&W soda ice pops!

I also got tons of cool cupcake liners with little phrases on the bottom like this amazing one above - I think I need to create a canvas of that and hang it pride of place in my kitchen!

I also got these super cute cupcake earrings from Forever 21!

I started with these choc and vanilla swirl marshmallows! and chopped them up to turn them mini.  The original recipe called for mini white marshmallows but I was too excited to use my new half and half kind!

I also got to use out my new square baking tray that I got for my birthday.  I love how it makes them into individual portions for you so it saves you all the time slicing them up once they're baked! I had to slice an edge on both sides of the cracker to get it to fit perfectly in my tray.

Another change I made from the original recipe was I replaced the square of Hershey's chocolate on top with a square of Dairy Milk because we all know my feelings about Hershey's!

These were so amazing.  The subtle cinnamon flavour from the cookie was really brought out by the addition of the cinnamon Graham cracker and the marshmallows melted to create chewy little pockets of deliciousness.  We devoured these in less than 2 days and if you don't have time to rustle up a bonfire and toast up some real s'mores I'd say these will definitely hit the spot!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Lola's Chocolate Sundae Brownie Cupcake & an awesome husband!

When Lola's announced that their cupcake special for the month of August was the Chocolate Sundae I knew I had to get to Selfridge's as fast as I could! infact I ventured there on the 3rd August but life has been so busy I've only just had a minute to blog about it now!! You see chocolate brownie cupcakes are just about one of my favourite cupcake flavours and when you pair it with vanilla pod buttercream - that to me is near perfection! and is actually one of my signature cupcake combos

Apparently 'Sundaes' were invented to overcome the law against ice cream consumption on Sunday's in the crazy is that! As you may recall, before we left for the Caribbean we had started up a little family tradition of 'Sundae Sunday' where we made different flavoured Sundae's each week.  That weekly event is on hold for now but rest assured in less than a months time when we move to Bangor and have our own happy little home again it will definitely be in full swing!

So back to the cupcake! this was hands down one of the best Lola's specials I've had in a while.  The brownie cupcake itself was the perfect combo of a moist fudgy centre (as showcased in the photo above) with a crunchy outer layer.  The vanilla pod frosting was delish and it was finished off with chocolate sauce, nuts and cherries.  I'm not a glace cherry lover, I've never met many people who are but I understand the association with Sundae's so I get why they used it, however mine stayed on my plate.

It was a fun little cupcake pit stop I made at Selfridge's...made even more fun by some accompanying Kings of Leon tunes on my cupcake covered iPod!! Here's where the awesome husband part of this post comes in.  A few weeks ago, I found myself at Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road.  They always have a rather large sale section and there were tons of various cupcake items on offer! I spotted, and fell in love with this iPod cover so I snapped it up instantly! I had left my iPod back in Milton Keynes that particular week so the following weekend when I went back I pulled the cover out of my bag and excitedly showed it to Byron.  He instantly dismissed it as he told me my iPod was too old and would not be compatible with the cover!! I was sooo disappointed! So the following weekend my awesome husband came to London to spend the weekend with me and he told me he was bringing a surprise...and what do you know he brought me a brand new iPod and not just any iPod this was a purple iPod!! and of course it meant it could fit my lovely new cupcake cover too!

so I thought I would share a little picture of it with all you cupcake lovers out there too...isn't it cute, and isn't my husband just the best for not only putting up with my cupcake obsession but feeding into it as well!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Bundt loving...Root Beer style!

These pictures were not taken on my SLR which made me not even want to do this post! nor were any pretty cake stands involved and Bundts deserve to be displayed on beautiful cake stands! and yes, I'm pretty sure you can see a tube of facewash and a bag of coppers in one of the pictures - whoops! but you see I did decide to blog about in the end...and the reason is because it was the tastiest most delicious thing ever and I could not wait 10 seconds longer to take some facewash out of the background of the shot because my tastedbuds could not hang on any longer! the smell of baked root beer goodness was overwhelming and all blogging sense went out the window!!

So without further ado I present to you the Root Beer Bundt cake.  For my birthday I received a bundt cake tin.  It was the first bundt tin I've ever had and so I spent weeks deciding what type of bundt cake to make because it's maiden voyage had to be a special and delicious one! I had settled on an Oreo one but then in last month's Food Network Magazine we came across this recipe and there was no question in my mind...other than how soon can I get my hands on some root beer! so after work that night we popped to Outsider Tart to pick up a bottle and that settled it!

It was a good thing we bought such a large bottle because there was definitely more going into our mouths than into the bowl...and that says alot, because this recipe is packed with root beer! Once upon a time I made some root beer float cupcakes, at the time I fell in love with the vanilla bean frosting that tasted just like a melted dollop of ice cream but I remember wishing the root beer taste in the cupcake had been stronger.  I certainly didn't have that problem this time around.  There is root beer in the cake mix, when the cake comes out the oven you poke it and pour on yet more root beer and soak the cake completely in pure A&W heaven. Once you've done that you even add some to the glaze and then just for fun...and extreme tastiness we threw an extra teaspoon or root beer extract in as well!

The results were incredible! I know mine's not exactly aesthetically pleasing but it tasted delicous and it stayed moist for days afterwards.  If you're a root beer lover then I'm telling you - you have to make this cake! If you're not a root beer lover then why not?! get involved!

Root Beer Bundt Cake:

1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
2 cups plain flour, plus more for dusting
2 1/2 cups root beer
1 cup cocoa powder
2oz/56g plain chocolate, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
3 large eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. 

Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan; tap out the excess flour.

Heat 2 cups root beer, the cocoa powder, chocolate and 1 stick butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the granulated and brown sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine 2 cups flour, the bicarbonate of soda, allspice and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Whisk the eggs into the root beer mixture, then gently fold in the dry ingredients (the batter will be slightly lumpy).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfer to a rack. Gently poke the cake all over with a skewer and pour 1/4 cup root beer over the cake; let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup root beer, a pinch of salt, the icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the cake.


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