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!

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 p√Ętissier. 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!

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

So I had quite a bit of crushed candy canes leftover from the last recipe, Candy Cane Mocha Cupcakes! I decided that I could use them with sugar cookies. I whipped up a quick batch of sugar cookie dough (use your favorite recipe) and formed them into little dough balls then thoroughly coated them in the crushed candy canes. Pop them onto a nonstick paper lined baking tray, so they don't stick and then bake according to the recipe that you are using. SIMPLES! These smelled great while baking, I couldn't wait to try one.  I have had quite a few now, they are very tasty! Hmm what else can I cover sugar cookies in?? Any ideas? Let me know in the comment section. :)



Book Giveaway!!

To get even more into the holiday spirit, I am giving away The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days book to one lucky reader in the UK! After buying this book last year, I started baking quite a lot and then started this blog. Many of the recipes featured on here are based on recipes from this book. Who knows if I would have even started blogging if it wasn't for getting this book?! All of the recipes that I have tried from this book have been wonderful and I will continue to bake my way through this book. If you love baking or know someone who would love this book, enter below on the Rafflecopter form. One winner will be selected on the 14th of December 2012! Winner will be contacted by email and must be over 18 with a valid UK address.

Good luck!! :)
 
   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Candy Cane Mocha Cupcakes

Happy December everyone!! To get into the holiday spirit, I decided to make Candy Cane Mocha cupcakes and use these reindeer cupcakes holders from PartyDelight.co.uk. The holders come with cupcake liners as well and thought it would be perfect for this recipe! The recipe comes from the Hummingbird Bakery book and I added my own little touch to the recipe. I love mochas and with the addition of peppermint candy canes, it made these cupcakes very festive and yummy! I tried crushing the candy canes but made a huge mess, so popped them into a food chopper and pulverised them to little bits. After that, I added quite a few teaspoons to the frosting and saved some to sprinkle on top. I still have lots left over, so I need to think of another recipe to use the candy cane bits. Try this recipe out for yourself and get into the holiday spirit. I'm off to have another one of these yummy cupcakes!

Ingredients:
Cake:
240ml whole milk
15g hot chocolate powder
5g instant espresso powder
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs

Frosting:
50ml whole milk
30g hot chocolate powder
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter, softened
crushed candy canes, to decorate

Steps:
Preheat oven to 190C/375F and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. Gently warm the milk, without letting it boil, then remove from heat and mix in hot chocolate powder and espresso powder, stir until dissolved then set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the ingredients resemble fine breadcrumbs. Place the eggs in the bowl with the milk mixture and whisk together by hand. Add 3/4 of the milk mixture to the dry mix and combine together, then increase the speed and add the remaining milk mixture. Continue to mix until smooth. Divide the batter between the cases, fill them to two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin, then place them on a wire rack to cool completely. FROSTING: Gently heat the milk, add in the hot chocolate powder, dissolve and set aside to cool. Mix the icing sugar and butter until no lumps of butter remain and then gradually add the hot chocolate milk. Once this has all been added increase the speed and mix until light and fluffy. Top each cake with a generous spoonful of frosting and smooth with a palette knife or pipe frosting on and decorate. Decorate with crushed candy canes or add some into the frosting or do both!





If you would like to buy the Reindeer Cupcake holders, you can order them from PartyDelights.co.uk, they are perfect for a holiday party.