Friday, 18 October 2013

Gingerbread Teddies

Hey kids,

Satch here. Last December I went to a wedding where they served the most amazing gingerbread I've ever had. When I spoke to the guy who made it, he said he just followed the BBC good food recipe, so I had to give it a try...albeit 10 months later. As this wasn't for any occasion in particular, I figured I'd just whack a bit of icing on. However, my driving instructor suggested I do superhero gingerbread - how could I refuse? 

As you can see, I don't have cookie cutters in the shape of people, but teddies can still be super! To make these gingerbread teddies you will need: 

350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter (dairy-free, naturally) 
175g light soft brown sugar
1 egg
4 tbsp golden syrup 
Cookie cutters
Icing sugar 
Piping bag

Preheat the oven 180c and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Put your flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl and stir it altogether. The original recipe said to sieve it but I like to walk on the wild side. 

Add the butter and rub it all between your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor, your life will probably be a lot easier than mine! 

Stir in the sugar. 

Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add this to the other ingredients and form it into a dough. 

Knead your dough briefly until it's smooth, then wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Cover your surface and rolling pin with flour - the mixture is quite sticky so I found I had to knead a bit more flour in, but that may well be because I overdid it with the golden syrup, who can say? Roll out your dough to about 1/2cm thickness. I experimented with different thicknesses, but the chunkier ones lost their shape and the thinner ones were too hard. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

Then, ice on whatever delightful character you'd like! Here are a few I did: 

Hulk, Superman and Spiderman
Sort-of Fred Flintstone and a Blues Brother (I was watching Blues Brothers whilst baking)

Robin, Batman and a very loose interpretation of Two-Face!

And, of course, classic teddy. 
You'll notice a few are missing limbs/not-so teddy-like. These were the ones that were too thick and placed too close together so they merged in the oven. Still, arms are overrated, I find. 

At this point I usually think about what I would do differently next time, but these tasted soooooo good I wouldn't change a thing. Just make sure you get the thickness right and you're good to go! Also, it's a good idea to bake when you're going to see other people at some point - I basically had to demolish these bad boys all by myself. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Until next time, 
Satch x

Monday, 14 October 2013

Apple and Cinnamon Cupcakes

Hey kids, 

Satch here. While it's perhaps a little early for christmassy cupcakes, there was a cooking apple just sitting in my kitchen - how could I not throw in a little bit of cinnamon and whack it in a cake? When I normally bake for my church partnership group, I usually have a few cakes left for my breakfast the next day, but these got completely demolished so I think they were particularly good! Almost too I have to eat toast tomorrow.

Again, this blog is sorely lacking in pretty pictures. It was such an experiment that I didn't think it would work, and didn't think to take photos until nearly all the cakes had gone! However, I did manage this one, and I even instagrammed it for you - aren't I nice? 

To make these apple and cinnamon cupcakes the way I did (which, as they were amazing, I would totally recommend) you will need: 

150g Dairy-free butter
150g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
150g Gluten-Free Flour 
Splash of Dairy-Free Milk
4 Tsp Cinnamon
Half a large cooking apple (about 5 tbsp worth!) 
Cupcake cases (the big muffin-y ones)
Icing Sugar 
Apple Juice (I used cloudy)

For those eagle-eyed blog readers among you, you may have noticed I've changed my basic mojito cupcake recipe quite a bit. Just so you know, there's one less egg and a lot less milk as I figured the apple would provide a crap-load of moisture (which is a technical baking term) and so you wouldn't need as much liquid as you would in a regular gluten-free cake. It was a complete guess, but it worked! 

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C

Cream together your butter and sugar, and then mix in your eggs. 

Peel your apple and dice it finely. Throw it in your mix with your flour, milk and 2 or 3 tsp of cinnamon (I just did this by sight). I also put raisins in mine, but I was disappointed with that aspect of the cake - the apple is good on its own so I won't be doing raisins again. 

Fill your cake cases and put them in the oven for 15 minutes, or until you can stick a fork in the middle one and it comes out clean. 

While your cakes are cooling, mix together your icing sugar, apple juice and 1 tsp cinnamon. You're going for a nice drizzle-able consistency, so do it by sight and taste. 

Drizzle your icing on the cakes with a teaspoon or using a piping bag if you're feeling fancy, but I like the random drizzly look. 

If I were to do it again, I might try adding a bit of ginger just to see what that's like, but I don't think it needs it (and I knew my friend Piero would be eating the cakes and he's allergic to ginger so that would have been mean). The cupcakes turned out really well, especially for such an experimental bake! They were light, moist and christmassy - what more could you want? 

Until next time, 

Satch x

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Mojito Cupcakes (Gluten and Dairy Free!)

Hello Children,

Satch here. Last week it was our friend Reb's birthday and so I felt she deserved a nice birthday treat, particularly considering the fact that she's gluten-intolerant and so rarely gets to eat cake - what a terrible, terrible thing. As a dairy-free kid myself, I know you can still make great cakes without half the stuff you usually put in, so I decided to make my first foray into gluten-free. 

One thing Reb and I have in common is that we both like a cocktail or six, so I decided to go all out and do something a bit special: mojito cupcakes! 

Unfortunately, I have a distinct lack of photos for this blog post as a) I still have no camera and b) I was making these with a five-year-old so we didn't have the patience to stop and take pictures (for those of you about to report me to the NSPCC, I didn't let her have any rum!) 

For these AMAZING cupcakes, you will need: 

For the cakes
150g Caster Sugar
150g Dairy-Free Butter 
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
150g Gluten-Free Flour 
5 tbsp Milk 
(If you don't want to go gluten-free and dairy-free then you can just use whatever fairy cake recipe you normally use.) 
Cupcake cases

For the icing
70ml Rum
3 Limes
Soft Brown Sugar 
Butter Icing (I tend to just mix it up by taste - you need butter and icing sugar!) 
Mint Leaves

Start by preheating your oven at 200 degrees C.

Cream together your butter and sugar and then whack in the eggs (beating eggs is for chumps!) 

Add your vanilla essence, flour and milk and stir it all together. The good thing about gluten-free flour is that you don't have to sift it (not that I would bother anyway, but just in case you're into that kind of thing.) The mixture will look a bit more wet than if you'd used gluteny flour, but the nice lady in the health food shop told me that's how it's meant to look.) 

Fill the cake cases with the mixture, and pop in the oven for roughly 15 minutes. Get them out and let them cool. 

Poke little holes in the cakes with a fork and brush the tops with rum. Let it soak in for a minute, and then go for another brush of rum. 

Juice two of your limes and brush the juice on the cake twice, just like you've done with the rum. 

Sprinkle on the brown sugar, it should dissolve into the cake. If you're not a big icing fan, you can probably stop here and still have a delicious mojito experience. However, the icing is pretty amazing, so you'll be missing out. 

For the icing, add the rest of the rum and lime juice to your buttercream. I have no idea how much buttercream I made, but I didn't use all the rum and lime because it would have been too much. Just keep going by taste and consistency until you get what you want - have an experiment, be an individual! 

Once you've iced your cakes (I went for the slap-it-on-with-a-spoon approach as dairy-free buttercream never holds a pretty piping shape anyway), slice up your third lime and place a slice on each cake, along with a mint leaf, and you're done! 

The cakes went down a treat and I was mega pleased my first gluten-free bake went so well! If I did them again, I might experiment with adding lime zest, rum and mint to the actual cake mixture, but you still get plenty of mojito flavour doing it this way so crack on! Anyone got any other cocktail cake ideas? 

Until next time, 

Satch x