Mike's Baking on Channel 4

Check me out on Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard!

Muffin Mondays

Check out all the yummy Muffin Monday recipes.

Take the challenge: Live Below The Line

I am taking the challenge and going to Live Below The Line from May 7th - 11th. Join me!

CAKE!

Check out the yummy cake recipes!

Cupcakes!

Check out all the yummy cupcakes!

Very Lemony Cupcakes

A couple week's ago our friend was having her baby shower and I wanted to try out a new yummy cupcake recipe for her. I went to look for a cupcake recipe from my Hummingbird Bakery books and forgot that I haven't tried out their newest book, Home Sweet Home. (As of today, March 30, 2014, the book is only £5!! Great price!) I had a look through but couldn't find one that I really wanted to make for the baby shower. So what did I do?! I changed a recipe slightly and combined it with another one. I started off with their Key Lime Cupcake recipe and changed everything to lemons and didn't make the custard. Then I had to figure what kind of frosting to pair up with the tart lemon flavour. I decided on making Lemon Cream Cheesing frosting from another recipe in the book. I ended up with a vanilla sponge, filled with lemon curd, and topped with lemon cream cheese frosting. They turned out lovely and went down well at the baby shower. The tart lemon curd was balanced by the cake and cream cheese frosting. I was really happy with how they turned out and the yummy cupcakes disappeared fast!! It was also the first time that I've made lemon curd... I had no idea how easy it is to make and can't wait to make it again.

To make this recipe follow the curd recipe on page 52 of Home Sweet Home, replacing the limes with lemons and don't use the double cream. Then on the same page, follow the sponge recipe exactly. Then on page 106, follow the frosting recipe exactly. Then you have very yummy Very Lemony Cupcakes, perfect for Spring time! If you don't have the Home Sweet Home recipe book yet, go out and get it! Lots of yummy recipes!
 

Cinnamon Apple Loaf

I wasn't planning on baking anything today but I was browsing Pinterest this morning and changed my mind. There are so many yummy recipes that people pin on there. I really wanted to make these quinoa cookies but didn't have all the necessary ingredients... I've saved that to try out another day. Instead I found this Cinnamon Apple Loaf recipe and I had everything needed to make it. The recipe is fairly simple and was easy to whip up. I changed some minor things from the original recipe, such as doubling the cinnamon, different brown sugar, and used almond milk instead of normal milk. I layered the batter and apples as described in the original but wished I would have swirled the apples in the middle into the batter. The loaf also took a lot longer to cook then 30 minutes for me. I checked every 10 minutes to see if it was done but ended up having it in there for a whole hour. The loaf turned out great though! It is a nice vanilla cake like texture with the apple cinnamon mixture layer in the middle and then a nice crunch on top with the second layer of apple cinnamon mixture. It's not too sweet either which makes it nice for a little breakfast treat. I would make this again and maybe add some type of nut into the apple cinnamon mixture. Try out this yummy recipe soon! (Oh and excuse the photos... they are from my mobile.)

Recipe by AllRecipes.com
Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown or muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 tsps baking powder
1/2 cup milk (I used almond)
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Steps:
Preheat oven to 350F/ 175C. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Beat white sugar and butter together in a medium bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract. Combine flour and baking powder together in a small bowl then fold into creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Mix together the chopped apples and brown sugar mixture. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the apples and brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat down into batter or swirl with a knife into the batter. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat this into batter. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean, about 40 minutes and then check every 10 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean.



Chocolaty Pretzel and Peanut Cookie Bars

Hope everyone is having a great start to the new year!!! 

I wanted to share this yummy Martha Stewart recipe with you. It was shared in a post of hers called "Sweet and Salty Dessert Recipes" collection. There are some really good recipes in there that I want to try out but I went with the Chocolaty Pretzel and Peanut Cookie Bars this time to bring over to our friend's house. It has in it all the flavours I love and I couldn't wait to try it out. It was fairly easy to make and you get about 20 cookie bars from the recipe. You have to have some patience with this one though as it takes awhile to cool and set fully. Just make sure you give it about 3 hours before slicing into bars, I didn't have that time, so it got a little messy. Even with it being a little messy, it turned out wonderful and was very yummy. Sweet, salty, and gooey goodness! I will be making this one again!! Check out the recipe here and try making it for your next gathering. 




Merry Everything, Happy Always!

Hello reader! So, where has this year gone?!? It has just flown by. Since my last post in September, I have been pretty busy with work, school, and socializing... and haven't had much time to try out new recipes for the blog! Hopefully in the new year, I will more time to try out some new recipes. But for now... I wanted to wish you a Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Although, I do have a quick recipe to share with you that is super simple and very yummy! The ROLO Pretzel Delight! I've never had this before but saw it and knew I wanted to try it out. This little treat takes about 10 minutes to complete from the unwrapping to melting slightly to final assembling. You can smush the Rolo with anything really... I tried out pecans, walnuts, butter toffee peanuts, almonds, and just decorations. The combination of sweet and salty is so good. Pretzel, chocolate, caramel, and nuts make for the perfect little treat combination. Check out the link above for the recipe! See you in the new year!





September 2013 Recipe Roundup

Here are some new recipes that I have tried in the last month:

Ultimate Cookie Tower!
I made these for Shane's Birthday and wanted to try something different with a picture I saw on pinterest. These were AWESOME, so yummy and very easy to whip together. Use your favourite cookie recipe, preferably one that will turn out to be crunchy, top it with your favourite butter cream frosting, sprinkle something decorative on top, and stack! I used this cookie recipe, peanut butter butter cream frosting, and topped it with honey roasted salted peanuts. You could really use all different combinations for yummy results. However, I don't recommend trying to put 28 candles so close together... the flames were huge!


Oreo Peanut Butter Brownies
This is another recipe that I saw on pinterest and had to try out! I made it for a little get together and they didn't last long at all, everyone loved them. They are extremely easy to make and combine some of my favourite flavours. You can use a brownie box mix or your own brownie recipe just make sure it is a recipe for a 9x9in pan. 





Pumpkin Brownies
I can't remember if I saw this recipe on pinterest or not... it seems like pumpkin recipes have exploded in the past month on there. This is a super easy recipe that anyone could make and all you need are 2 ingredients, a can of puréed pumpkin (or from a fresh pumpkin) and brownie mix. I decided to add some cinnamon chips that have been in my cupboard forever waiting for the right recipe. I found them in the states when I was there earlier in the year but you can make a version of them at home as they can be hard to find. Well when I first tried these brownies I didn't really like them but they grew on me. They are extremely moist but mine didn't have the brownie crust at all which is my favourite part of a brownie. I would make it again as the flavours are good together and I now know not to expect the typical brownie results. 


Pumpkin Pie Syrup
I tried making some pumpkin spice syrup for making yummy lattes in the morning but it did not turn out well at all and was quite a messy process... :-/ Anyone have a recipe they tried out that was as good as Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte?


Tuna Ceviche
We first had this on holiday in Cornwall last year and loved it but I never attempted to make it at home until now. I have no idea why I waited so long! I based my recipe off of this one and just added a lot more into it. It was so good!! We ate it on top of a salad and with some tortilla chips for a bit of crunch. While the recipe is easy to make as it just involves a lot of chopping, it does take a few hours to "cook", so just bear that in mind when making it. 


Soy-glazed Tuna Steaks
I had to try out another tuna steak recipe but one where it was actually cooked by heat. I found this recipe on GoodFood but only used the marinade part of this recipe. The stores were shut so I couldn't get any bak choi for it and had to settle for normal salad and added some couscous to it. The marinade turned into a nice glaze while grilling the tuna steaks. I think I overcooked them just slightly but it still turned out very good. I would make it again, just need to perfect grilling the tuna. 






Pretzel O's

I was looking to use my newly purchased doughnut pan again for another recipe but I didn't want to make doughnuts. I was on the search and came upon this recipe, Pretzel Donuts. It was perfect and I couldn't wait to try it out. I have been wanting to make home-made pretzels for quite awhile now. I found the process of making the pretzels to be quite easy but time consuming. I enjoyed making them though and will definitely be trying out more pretzel recipes.  I made these Pretzel O's to take to a BBQ. Most people thought they were just normal doughnuts, so I had to keep explaining that they were actually pretzels. Everyone really enjoyed them but struggled to eat all of it as they are quite heavy and everyone was stuffed already from all the food at the BBQ. I had a few myself over a few days and loved them, they tasted exactly how a pretzel should and with the addition of sea salt and chocolate on top, they were AMAZING! Next time I would serve these as a snack as they were too filling to be eaten at a BBQ, or I now know to cut them in halves or quarters. Definitely check out this recipe and make these yummy treats soon!


My Attempt at Magic Cake... Not so Magical!

As soon as I saw the Magic Cake on pinterest, I knew that I wanted to try it out. If you have't seen it yet, it looks pretty intriguing and I made it this past week! They all look very yummy and surprisingly easy. I tried the plain "Magic" cake recipe, that describes it as one batter transformed like magic into three layers of cake, custard, and a more dense cake whilst baking. I really enjoyed making this cake and was excited to share it once baked and cooled. The cake took eighty minutes to achieve the golden crust as described in the recipe. I let it cool and sliced up some for desert. First thing I noticed was that mine didn't have three beautiful layers but one very thin cake crust and then one very thick custard like dense cake. I followed the recipe exactly but it did mention that it could turn out differently cause of ovens. I moved past the disappointment of not having the magical three layers and went in for the taste test. We got a taste that we were not expecting at all, it was not a sweet custard like cake but one that tasted like an egg omelette in a dense cake texture! My partner took one bite and gave me the plate back with a look of disgust... I was so disappointed that the cake was not nice. I tried to be objective and take a second bite... nope, still very eggy but it did leave a nice after taste once that flavour died down. I really didn't want to think that this cake had been a disaster, so gave it another chance, thinking maybe the flavours would all come together and taste better the next day. Nope, still bad and my bin got to enjoy the rest of the cake.

I love pinterest and will continue to try out recipes from there, but this one's flavour just did not work for me. Have you tried this recipe out or a similar one out? Any success or recommendations? 


Mojito Doughnuts

I recently bought a doughnut pan and wanted to come up with a creative idea, transforming my favourite drink, a mojito, into a doughnut. Of course someone has already tried this! I guess I need to think more outside the box. Instead of trying diethood.com's recipe out completely. I modified the recipe that came with the pan and used a similar glaze to diethood.com, to make my version of mojito doughnuts. First off, I had no idea doughnuts were so easy to make especially using this special pan. The recipe from the pan was just ok though... even with my slight changes, so I think next time I'll try a different one out. Although, these doughnuts were still tasty, with a slight taste of rum and then mint and lime to round it off! They quickly disappeared! Next time I try them out, I think I will make them even more boozier. I might even try out my favourite cupcake recipes and enjoy them in doughnut form. What is your favourite doughnut recipe?



Cake Batter Fudge

I love fudge but stay away from the recipes where you have to use a candy thermometer, I like the easy recipes! One of these days I will try fudge making that way, once I get around to actually buying a candy thermometer. For now, here is a simple recipe I first saw on Pinterest and then on one of those Pinterest fail sites. I love cake batter anything, so had to try this recipe out. I was worried it would come out looking more like the failed version, which they described as "meat coloured fudge", gross! I learned from their failure to add the sprinkles in at the last minute with minimal mixing in, which the original recipe does mention as well, so very important step. Use whatever cake mix you can find in the shops, I want to try out a chocolate version! This fudge is amazingly yummy!! It is very sweet and initially I thought one square was enough for a little treat but I found myself going back for more and more. Try out this super easy and yummy recipe: Baked from a Box: Cake Batter Fudge






Mid-year update... I'm still alive!

Hello!
I can't believe it is now June and I haven't posted any new posts this year!! It has been a bit of a crazy busy year so far and unfortunately my blog has been neglected. I started off the year being in the states, then right back into school, a little bit of work, became addicted to making green smoothies, a giant order of truffles for our friends' wedding, some pinterest DIY projects for the garden, and just returned from a trip to sunny Spain. It doesn't sound like much in one sentence but that has been the past 5 months for me. A majority of the time has been taken up with school but I am 15 credits closer to my degree with a 4.0 GPA for this past semester, a first for me! I start my summer courses this Monday and I know I will be busy, but I want to make time for my blog by trying to post at least once each month! Thank you for the visitors that continue to read my past posts and I hope you continue to come back! Hope everyone has a great summer, hope we get one in England this year!

The truffles I made for our friends' wedding
before being boxed up. Recipe




Green smoothies and school work... a typical day for me this year.
My fave smoothie recipes come from IncredibleSmoothies.com


2 of our garden projects recently completed. Thanks to Pinterest for the ideas,
love that site! We painted old plastic lawn chairs and made a table out of pallets!

Happy Holidays!


Keep entering the giveaways and you might win!! Winners will be picked on the 9th of January 2013.
  1. Cake Mould Giveaway (1 Winner) Update(Feb2013) - The company has stopped responding to me and not sent out prizes as promised. :-/
  2. Book Giveaway (6 Winners)
Thanks for reading my blog!

Book Reviews and More Giveaways!

I was recently sent copies of the books pictured below to have a little review of them but also to give away 3 copies of each book, 6 lucky readers will win one of the books!! If you didn't enter or win the last giveaway, make sure you enter this one using the rafflecopter form at the end of this post. Winners will be selected on the 9th of January 2013! Winners will be contacted by email and must be over 18 with a valid UK or Ireland mailing address. Good luck!


Marshmallow Madness - I was quite excited to receive this book as I love marshmallows but never thought about making them at home. I always thought that the process would be extremely messy and the marshmallows wouldn't come out nice but after reading the introduction with Shauna's insight, knowledge, and tips on how to make marshmallows and make them well. I was ready to get in the kitchen right away, but to make them successfully you really need a stand mixer... I have one of those but someone in this household has made my stand mixer unusable!! So until that gets fixed no marshmallow making for me, which stinks but I'm hoping the unnamed person will be fixing it soon as there are so many recipes that I want to tryout in this book. There are 6 sections in this book starting with the classic marshmallows, fresh and fruity, happy hour, for the mallow connoisseur, kids in a candy store, and then ending with other fluffy puffy desserts. My top picks from each of the chapters to try out would be jam-filled marshmallows, key lime pie marshmallows, buttered rum marshmallows, the elvis marshmallow, pb&j marshmallows, and blonde rocky road. Those would be the first few recipes that I would want to try out to begin with but there are many more unique marshmallow recipes in this book. The photos are beautifully shot however I wish there were more. Shauna has really taken marshmallow making to the next level and I can't wait to start making marshmallows and maybe even come up with my own unique flavour combination idea!

Pure Vanilla - With most recipe books mainly focusing on chocolate, it is refreshing to see a book focus on vanilla! Most books start with a short introduction, but this book's introduction is 20 pages giving a brief history of vanilla, from orchid to extract, origins, varieties and tasting notes, as well as frequently asked questions. I learned quite a few things after reading this section.  Shauna has divided the book into 6 chapters, breakfasts, cakes and pies, cookies and bars, candies and confections, custard and creams, and finally drinks! There are some classic recipes in there but Shauna has turned the creative juices up for this recipe book. Here are my top picks from each chapter, Vanilla Brown Sugar & Black Pepper Bacon, Tres Leches Cake, Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Golden Pear Vanilla Jam, Nutty Vanilla Spread, and a Vanilla Mojito. These are just a few that screamed out to me that I would love to try making first from this wonderful. Again the photos throughout the book are beautiful but wish there were more! So forget about the chocolate and check out this book to make many yummy vanilla inspired recipes from Shauna.

Which book would you love to add to your collection?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Tart It Up by Eric Lanlard

I normally feature cupcakes or other sweet treats on here with the occasional savoury recipe. However, I haven't featured many tarts or pies here, sweet or savoury. It's not that I haven't tried making them because I have had this fabulous book, Tart it up! by Eric Lanlard, for awhile but my efforts although tasty have not come out looking as beautiful as they taste. I think I need another masterclass with Eric to work on my presentation skills. I didn't grow up with a lot of pies or tarts, and if we did have the odd occasional one it definitely wasn't homemade. So I don't have a lot of practice in this section of baking but I will continue to work on it and hopefully be able to share a recipe inspired by Eric's book with you soon.  As it is getting closer to Christmas, I wanted to share with you a little book review on this wonderful book.

On to the book!

The book starts off with an introduction from Eric and his love of pastry and how he discovered what it takes to be a good pâtissier. Then it moves onto pastry basics and explains several different doughs and tips on how to make them. This is the most important section of the book as the dough recipes are used in every recipe, although the recipes state you can use ready made... but what's the fun in that? :-p However, I am guilty of using the shop bought versions of the dough when I have been short on time! The book then moves onto the savoury tarts and pies. The photography in this book is beautiful and features glimpses of Eric throughout making some of the recipes. Our favourite recipe tried from this section is the lamb and moroccan spice pie. The tart pictured to the right is a roasted red pepper and goat's cheese tart which is also very nice. There are lots of yummy recipes of savoury pies and tarts which are perfect for dinner time. I have many more I want to try out.

The next section of the book moves onto sweet tarts and pies. A majority of this section includes such unique recipes with flavours I would never think of being together but seeing them in the book makes you want to try out these amazing recipes. One that looks really amazing to me is the chocolate and earl grey tarts with roasted figs... yum!! That is definitely on my to make list. The recipes are easy to follow but there is even one recipe that only has two ingredients not including the pastry crust, which is the gypsy tart. The gypsy tart got mixed reviews from friends but I really enjoyed it and next time I make it I will serve it with Eric's lemon cheese recipe as I bet the two combined together would be lovely. There is such a variety of sweet recipes in this book, some very unique ones and also classic ones all with Eric's special touch. I think for my next birthday I will be requesting a recipe from this book and have a birthday pie instead of a birthday cake.

Eric loves baking and it truly shows in this book. I can't wait to continue trying out the yummy recipes in this book. If you don't have this book yet, put it on your Christmas wish list. It would make a great addition to any recipe book collection. Or just go on and buy this fabulous book now!