Ah the humble welsh cake. A teatime treat, that has been popular in Wales since the late 19th Century (or so Wikipedia tells me!). I went to university in Wales, Bangor in North Wales to be precise and I have a lot of love for […]
Is it too late to say Happy New Year? I hope 2018 has treated you all well so far, and you aren’t beating yourself up too much over new years resolutions!
After the gluttonous festive period I thought I’d go down the slightly healthier route for my first bake back, with peanut butter energy balls. Bake is a bit of a stretch, as they take about 5 minutes to make and only see the inside of a fridge. But they’re so tasty I couldn’t not share the recipe!
Energy balls are abit of a ‘trendy’ bake, but don’t let that put you off. They’re full of goodness, and really do give me an energy boost throughout the day.
The energy balls are simply dates, oats, peanuts, peanut butter and a dash of oil to bind. Medjool dates are best to use as they’re super soft and sweet, but regular dry dates are fine to use too – and easier to find! You’ll just need to soak them in some warm water for 5 minutes first to soften up.
The texture of the energy balls is what I really love. They’re almost chewy, and substantial enough that you feel like you’ve had a proper snack. Not like some ‘healthier’ snacks which leave you feeling just as hungry. They’re also sweet enough that you feel like you’re having a treat, but not sickly so!
All you need to do is blitz the oats and peanuts in a food processor then add the dates, peanut butter and oil. Roll them into balls and then chill for at least 20 minutes before eating them. It’s really as simple as that!
They can then be kept in the fridge for a few weeks, which is great as the mixture makes about 25 balls. Pop some in your lunch box to keep you going through that 3pm slump! Or have a couple as a post-dinner treat!
As 2017 draws to a close, I thought I’d take a look back at my most viewed posts throughout the year. It’s been a year of extravagant cakes, decadent tarts and edible gifts and some of my favourite food photography to date!
So kicking off proceedings, spot five is filled with my Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers.
Financiers are one of my absolute favourite cakes, especially when flavoured with pistachio. Head to the post for a full lesson in their origin, their name will suddenly make sense once you do!
They are so moreish and stay SO moist from the ground almonds. The fresh raspberries in the cakes give such a good tart kick, and mean you have to eat them all fairly quickly…you can thank me later!
Next up is a classic Bakewell Tart – which I’m so glad made the top five because its suchh a good tart!! The crisp pastry, the tart jam and the almondy frangipane topped with flaked almonds is just the dream! And it always bakes well, its a classic for your repertoire.
Staying with the tart theme, in third place is my Pear and Frangipane Tart. A signature bake for me and always highly requested in my household! The pears are poached before baking in the tart, so they are super tender but still add a really nice texture to the tart. There’s frangipane and flaked almonds galore again – I’m glad we’re all in agreement at how yummy it is!
Runner up for 2017 is my Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake. I actually made this back in 2016 for my mum’s birthday. I wanted to combine her favourite flavours but also keep the decoration quite fun and almost childlike! It turned out one of the tastiest cakes I’ve ever made. The combination of ground almonds and fresh raspberries makes it SO moist and so flavourful. The swiss meringue buttercream keeps the cake feeling light too, meaning you can have a bigger slice!
Now we come to the winner, the most viewed post of 2017 (and 2016 coincidentally!) are my Viennese Whirls. They’re absolutely a worthy winner and are a favourite in my house too! I really think I’ve perfected this recipe, making the whirls the perfect pipeable consistency that when baked aren’t claggy but aren’t too crumbly either. The tart jam and sweet buttercream combines perfectly, and makes them so moreish. Definitely a winner in my eyes 🙂
So now I thought I’d share my personal favourite recipe from 2017 which issss, dun dun dunnnn! My Brushstroke Layer Cake!
The brushstroke pattern was all over Instagram this year and I just think it’s SO beautiful! I really enjoyed trying my hand at it, especially as its wayyy easier than it looks. And tasty as its just chocolate! I made this for my sister’s birthday this year, last year I made her my Buttercream Flower Wreath Layer Cake so god knows how I’m gonna top both next year!? I actually had a bit of a nightmare making this, but you can read about that on the post, as all turned out fine in the end 🙂
So there we have it, 2017 has been a pretty great blog year for me. I’ve been really happy with the recipes I’ve created and photos I’ve taken! Seems we all love almonds too, with 4 out of the top 5 containing almonds in some way!
So heres to 2018 and Happy New Year all!
I love snowglobes. I think as a child I found them quite magical and fascinating, so now when I look at them as an adult they remind me of the excitement and magic surrounding Christmas as a kid. I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was SO cool! Though obviously, with most things on Pinterest it’s never as easy as you imagine!
I also made the cupcakes on a Saturday, leaving the snowglobes to dry overnight. Then proceeded to drink wayy too much at a party and be so hungover the next day that I couldn’t face taking pictures of the snowglobes till the afternoon when I’d lost natural light. So lesson to all, don’t get drunk on a baking/photography weekend. Though I imagine the different light in the pictures is probably more aggravating to myself than anybody else!
It definitely takes some practise to get the snowglobe right, but they can look so adorable once they are! It’s all completely edible too, as you make the globes from gelatin. The process to make the snowglobe is actually fairly simple, but you’ll need a fair bit of time for the gelatin to dry. Overnight is perfect though!
To create the snowglobe shape, you’ll need to blow up some small balloons. Then melt the gelatin sheets over a low heat until its a thin enough consistency to be able to dip the balloons in. These are then left to set overnight until the gelatin is no longer tacky. The balloons can then be (carefully!) popped and you will be left with a hard shell-like snowglobe to place over your cupcake. Stopping the balloons from sticking together was an issue! But I figured it out below, by sticking skewers through the balloon tie and sticking them into polystyrene.
For the base of the snowglobe, I made gingerbread cupcakes which are so moist and have the perfect amount of spice. I topped the cupcakes with a little vanilla icing, and some sugar sprinkles to look like snow. For the decorations inside the snowglobe, I used fondant icing to create presents, trees and snowmen. You could make any little decorations you wanted, but modelling fondant is nottt my forte so I tried to stick to quite simple shapes!
I really hope you give these snowglobe cupcakes a go, even with the added effort and time I think they’re so worth it! And best of all they taste delicious and super festive!
I’ve never been a fan of the traditional rich Christmas fruit cake, but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a cake! So every year I whip up a big ol’ layer cake for the family to enjoy that’s a bit more modern in style. This year I decided to emulate my buttercream flower wreath cake and create a wintery version as I loved that cake so much!! Its the proudest I’ve ever been, so I knew I wanted to try the style again. I did downsize slightly and kept the flowers to one side. I love how it makes it look a little more elegant and so so festive!
So that’s how my Christmas wreath cake was born.
Flavours wise I decided to create an earl grey sponge with a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. The bergamot flavour from the tea gives it a lovely subtle festive note, without being too overpowering. I also created an earl grey cake soak to enhance the flavour and ensure the cake stayed moist and flavourful throughout. I really think cake soaks are worth taking the extra time to create, especially if you’re not serving the cake on the day you baked it.
The earl grey sponge is really the star of this christmas wreath cake, but swiss meringue buttercream is my absolute favourite for layer cakes. It’s so luscious without being too sweet, and is so smooth making it the easiest buttercream to get a crisp finish. It also works really well for piping flowers as they keep their shape so well. I always pipe mine onto small squares of parchment paper attached to a flower nail, that way you can then place them in the freezer to harden which makes your life ten times easier when placing them on the cake.
For decoration I also added cinnamon sticks to look like twigs, and small dots of buttercream to act as holly berries. I really love the look and taste of this Christmas wreath cake, its subtly festive and super pretty.