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Sprinkle, sprinkle, little star

Sprinkle, sprinkle, little star

Comic Relief challenge bake #4: Sprinkle Bear-y cakes .

They are made using the recipe for Sticky Confetti Cakes from the Great Comic Relief Bake Off book, but in cupcake form. (Because EVERYTHING is better in miniature. Except bank balances.)

If you haven’t tried baking sprinkles inside your cake batter, do it. Ridiculously easy and instant multi-coloured polkadots. Awesome!

Mummy Bear x

Tis the season to be Jolly……

….. Or at least it would be if everywhere wasn’t flooding outside, if I didn’t have a hideous cold and an assignment to hand in tomorrow. But never mind, because I have a secret weapon – Eggnog Bear-y Cakes! They have an eggnog flavoured sponge with a sparkly rum buttercream to make them look like snowballs.

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The recipe for this is easy – use a normal vanilla cupcake batter, but replace the 240ml of milk with the same amount of non alcholic Eggnog (I discovered it in the world food aisle at Tesco) and bake as normal. Make the frosting by creaming 110g unsalted butter with 500g icing sugar, 75ml whole milk and 1 tsp rum flavouring (or real rum if you don’t have Baby Bears who want to lick all the frosting off every cake). When the cakes are cool, smear on the buttercream with a palette knife and sprinkle with white magic sparkles.

Spread the Christmas cheer – the holidays ARE coming!

Mummy Bear x

Ever decreasing circles

I have been a bad blogger recently. Or rather, I have been a good mother, student, employee and wife. It’s been one of those months where everything comes at once and you end up going round and round in ever decreasing circles. But the end is in sight and I have made friends with my beloved oven again. And I have a new obsession in baking  –  swirls. Because plaiting is very last month.

And so we have swirl-whirly  biscuits, (named by Big Bear) which are vanilla and chocolate swirled biscuits, filled with chocolate and hazelnut swirl spread. I found the recipe (and beautiful photographs) at Iced Cupcakes, and the only thing I changed was the filling, because I found a swirly spread. To be honest, once spread on the biscuits, you couldn’t tell that the filling also started as a two tone swirl, but I do LOVE it when everything fits in a theme.

EDIT: Iced cupcakes has removed her blog. *sob* But fear not, you can find the recipe on our facebook page.

If you’re wondering what these are like, I can explain. Sort of. They are too spongy to be biscuits, but aren’t quite cake. I guess the closest thing to it is a whoopie pie. But they are definitely not pie like. Confused? Me too. Delicious? Very!

Mummy Bear x

1-UP!

1-UP!

These were another item which Big Bear had requested for his party. However, I was making these after a full day at work on two hours sleep, (thanks to Baby Bear) so it’s safe to say they are not the most complex or beautifully finished bear-y cakes I have ever made! Which is just as well, seeing as they got well a truly bashed about in Daddy Bear’s rally driving attempt to get to the party in time.

The 1-UP! cupcakes were made using a simple vanilla batter in white paper cases filled slightly fuller so the made a dome shape on top of the cake. They were then spread with green vanilla buttercream using a butter knife, and topped with 3 white chocolate buttons each. I used a edible black ink pen to draw the two eyes on each paper case after decorating it, and then breathed a sigh of relief as yet another party snack was finished!

Mummy Bear x

Talking the stripes off a Zebra

It’s week 4 of summer holidays, it’s raining, and the Little Bears are bored. We’ve watched TV. We’ve played trains. We’ve stomped in puddles. We’ve made playdough angry birds. We’ve watched some more TV. We’ve been to soft play. It’s all getting a little bit tedious, and everything is getting steadily louder as the Little Bears get more and more loquacious. But there is always one thing that will let silence descend on the Bear house again, if only for a couple of minutes, and that is cake batter. There is definitely something important about being allowed to lick the spoon (and the bowl) as a child. It’s one of those little things you’ll remember when you grow up.

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So this is not only a recipe for a Chocolate and Vanilla Zebra cake, it’s a recipe for 5 minutes peace. The beauty of this cake is you need two bowls, with equal amounts of batter in, which means that the Little Bears get a whole bowl each to lick, and Mummy Bear gets a much needed cup of tea which can be drunk whilst still hot. It’s the simple things in life!

Chocolate and Vanilla Zebra Cake (Recipe taken from Lorraine’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food)

For the initial batter:

250ml vegetable oil

250g Castor sugar

100ml semi skimmed milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

4 eggs

175g Self Raising Flour

For the vanilla batter:

175g Self Raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

For the chocolate batter:

25g cocoa powder (I used Green and Blacks organic cocoa)

125g Self Raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

In a mixing bowl combine the ingredients for the initial batter, using a wooden spoon. An added bonus of this recipe is that because it is such a liquid batter, then it can all be mixed quickly, and by hand.

Split the batter in two by pouring some out into another bowl. I am lucky in that I have two identical mixing bowls, so I used the weighing scales to measure exactly half the batter, but it could easily be split using volumes in a measuring jug because it is such a liquid batter at this stage.

In the first of the two bowls, add the extra ingredients for the vanilla batter, and then combine using a hand whisk. in the second of the two bowls, add the ingredients for the chocolate batter, and again combine with a hand whisk. Fill one piping bag with the vanilla batter, and a second piping bag with the chocolate batter. Pass the empty mixing bowls to your children. Because I didn’t have any piping bags (still) I had to improvise this part with sandwich bags and clips so it became a little bit messy.

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Snip a small hole in the point of the piping bags (or sandwich bags in my case) and pipe a small dollop of chocolate batter in the centre of an 8 inch round cake tin. Follow this by piping a dollop of the vanilla batter inside the chocolate batter already in the cake tin. Repeat this by piping another chocolate dollop inside the vanilla one. Each alternate dollop will push out the previous one towards the edge of the tin, resulting in a tin full of concentric chocolate and vanilla batter rings.

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Bake in the centre of a preheated oven at 170C for approximately 50 minutes. If you notice the top of the cake becoming golden before the inside is cooked, cover the top of the cake tin with a piece of tin foil to protect it, and pop it back in the oven until fully cooked through. (Use the clean knife test to check). Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tin. If you’re impatient like me, pop the cake outside to cool as it will cool it faster, especially with this weather!

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You can see some of the Zebra stripes on the cake crust, but it is the inside of the cake that is really impressive. If I had more time and less children, it would have been delicious covered in chocolate ganache, but Big Bear and Baby Bear were far too impatient in demanding cake NOW (the batter bowls had been well and truly licked clean buy this point) so I cut up the ‘naked’ cake instead!

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In The Great British Bake Off this week they has to bake a cake with a hidden design…. well this isn’t very hidden, but it is pretty awesome looking when you cut into it!

Mummy Bear x

Simples!

Posted on

When Mummy Bear spent the evening baking with some friends, they suggested that she made a post about basic cupcakes (Or Bear-y cakes as we call them. Because they’re like fairy cakes, but more…. butch). I’m not entirely sure why said friends feel they need this, because every single one of them is very capable of reading a cook book. Secretly I think it’s because they know that if even I can follow the recipe and it turns out ok, then they should ace it!

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I have tried countless vanilla sponge cupcake recipes, ones which use plain flour, self raising, ones where you weigh the eggs, or add the eggs one by one. Ones that bake at 190C ones that bake at 150C. Trust me, I have tried them ALL. It was a hard job, but some one had to do it. Anyway, the best one I have found (so far) is the Hummingbird Bakery Vanilla cupcake recipe… with a few alterations in the ingredients.

Basic Vanilla Cupcakes

80g Stork (Instead of unsalted butter. I prefer stork because it’s cheaper, and it is softer when you get it out of the fridge, so easier to mix! Also the book says to use 1/4 tsp of salt, but because the stork is slightly salted I get to leave this out!)

280g Golden Caster Sugar (The book just says caster sugar, but I prefer the golden colour in my jars on the shelf. Yes, I am that shallow.)

240g Self Raising flour (The book says to use Plain flour and add 1 tbsp baking powder, but that is a tincy bit more effort, so I just use self raising flour.)

240ml Whole milk (This is the same as the book!)

1/2 tsp vanilla essence (And this – see I can read)

2 large eggs (We always use free range. It probably makes absolutely no difference to the cakes, but at least your conscience will be clearer – right?)

Preheat the oven to 170C. the book says 190C but my oven runs a little hot, and this way you get flatter cake tops.

In a large bowl beat together the Stork, flour and sugar using an electric mixer until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. In a measuring jug measuring out the milk, add the two eggs and vanilla essence to it, and then beat until combined with a hand whisk.

Add half the milk mixture to the bowl of ‘breadcrumbs’ and beat with the electric mixer on a low spread until combined. Then add the rest of the milk mixture and beat on a low speed again. The batter is quite pale and runny and will drip freely off the beaters.

Use an icecream scoop to measure equal amounts of batter into the muffin cases. To get a flatter top like in the pictures, fill the cases about 2/3rds full. My Bears like BIG Bear-y cakes though, so I make only 12 cakes with this mix and fill the cases nearly to the top.

Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the tops start to turn golden and are springy when you touch them. Whatever you do, don’t open the oven in the first 10/15 minutes of baking because it will ruin the cakes. Always. To test if they are definitely cooked through use a toothpick and insert it into the palest cake. If it comes out clean with no crumbs, it’s cooked!

Leave them to cool in the muffin trays. I know it takes longer, but it should stop the cakes shrinking too much. If you’re really impatient like me, pop them outside to cool faster.

And that’s it. Simples!

Mummy Bear x

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