Latest attempt at eggless baking

The Great British Bakeoff is back on our screens and on the new TV channel, Channel 4 with the exception of old blue eyes; Paul Hollywood, new presenters. I did find that the last years series on BBC One wasn’t has good as the previous series so thought the revamp and the current changes would be a good move, breath some new life into the programme. I was wrong. Presenter Noel Fielding has a witty personality which I just feel is being suppressed, it’s like he is on his best behaviour not to offend anyone, and I’m waiting for him to break free. It could just be me and maybe I’m being a little unreasonable but I don’t think the talent is has high as some of the bakers from past series, let’s face it no one has been able to top lion bread. There are a few bakers that have won me over, Yana, Julia and Liam. He was robbed of star baker, think Facepalmsomeone needs to check that it is only tea in Pru and Paul’s mugs when they have to such an important decision. The introduction of Caramel week was interesting, though I think I will stick to buying stroopwafels, not a single baker was able to get the caramel right in the technical challenge, what was that all about?

I haven’t tried any of the bakes from the show but have been having my own little challenges. I back on the eggless baking trying to find a perfect go to eggless cake recipe. I personally don’t have any concerns baking with eggs but over the years I have come across people for whatever reason don’t eat eggs be it an allergy, religious or vegan or simply don’t like to eat eggs.

I am getting closer to reaching my goal with my recent attempt, think I may have found the ideal recipe from Carve your Craving. The mixture makes your own buttermilk by adding vinegar to milk and letting it curdle, I just bought buttermilk. I thought my mixture looked a bit too dry in the notes it says to add water but I didn’t read this part and added a few extra table spoons of buttermilk and chocolate chips. You can use an electric mixer but a trusty old hand whisk did the job.

In the eyes of my guinea pigs these cakes were success; the texture was that of an egg based cake and got thumbs up on the taste, I was a bit concerned they may not be sweet enough but I was Eggless Cupcakes Cooked Webwrong. I was just a bit disappointed with how the top of the cakes looked, I thought maybe I had overbaked them but the actual cake didn’t taste dry. With some icing on top no one who even see what the top of the cakes looked like!

One cake taste tester did say they had turned out nice but they did prefer the egg based muffin. I do think the egg based equivalent was that tad bit fluffier but that could also be down to over mixing the batter slightly. I am my own worst critic. I’ve added the recipe below but do visit Carve your Craving website for the original recipe as there are lots of accompanying pictures and helpful tips, plus lots of other recipes.

Ingredients
  • All purpose flour – 1 ½ cups / 215 grams
  • Granulated Sugar – 1 cup / 214 grams
  • Cocoa powder – ½ cup / 43 grams
  • Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Milk – 1 cup / 240 ml
  • Oil – ½ cup / 118 ml
  • Pure Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Vinegar – 2 teaspoon
  • Milk plus vinegar is nothing but buttermilk:) so if u don’t have vinegar use sour buttermilk ( chaas) 1 cup by replacing milk and vinegar
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F or 180 degree C.
  • Line the cupcake tray with cupcake liners
  • Sieve and Mix all dry ingredients (All purpose flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt) in a bowl. Always sieve from a height for tender crumb outcome
  • Now time for liquids
  • Add vinegar to milk and let it stand for a minute .. Stir in oil
  • Use liquid measuring cup to measure the liquids for best results smile emoticon
  • Mix liquid in the dry ingredients – whip with a electric whipper or by a spatula or hand whip only till the batter is smooth and no lumps – don’t over beat – very important
  • Mine is always ready within 30-40 secs.
  • And bake in pre-heated oven for about 18-20 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center of cupcake will come out with few dry crumbs .. Don’t over bake
  • Remove it from oven and after 5 minutes remove cupcakes on wire rack and let them cool completely before frosting.
  • Please follow the given tips – for the best tender moist cupcakes

 

Notes
I recommend adding 1 tsp instant coffee powder to the batter.. It enhances the flavor of chocolate… Do add if not making for kids
Milk plus vinegar is nothing but buttermilk:) so if u don’t have vinegar use sour buttermilk ( chaas) 1 cup buttermilk in place of milk
As there may be difference in flour quality – if you think the batter is too thick add no more than 3 tbsp water – 1 tbsp at a time
use whipping attachment not beaters
Can be stored at room temperature unfrosted upto 3 days in a air tight container
1 week in the fridge
3 months in the freezer

 

 

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Baby Shower Cupcakes

These past few weeks my baking projects have been in full swing.

There was my nieces birthday cake, the following weekend I had a  close friends baby shower to attend and was asked to make some cupcakes for it. I’ve known this person for over 10 years and many of of friends and family were going to be there so I had to make sure these cakes looked excellent!

IMG_20141101_095544[1]I have made a baby shower cake for my sister in the past so I had idea how to make baby related fondant decorations. Still I did a bit of research into the different designs I could try, colour combinations etc. Throughout my baking experience I’ve found doing a bit of research beforehand and having a few practice runs makes life a lot easier.

Feed back from the baby shower; everyone was impressed the cakes from the look to the taste of them and were devoured quickly. Can’t ask for more than that really, and I did cheekily leave a few buisness cards I had made up casually lying around near the cupcakes 😉

If you want to see any of my other cake designs / baking challenges you can check out my Facebook cake page.

National Cupcake Week

As it is National Cupcake Week and it has been a while since I last brought in cupcakes to work I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe. Whilst browsing the National Cupcake Week website I came across the Marie Antoinette Cupcakes, by Peggy’s Cucakes. This recipe was different to the traditional sponge recipe as it also used milk and as it so happened I had some milk that had a few days left before it expired. I made a few substitutions / additions, instead of vanilla extract I opted for orange and added a selection of white and milk chocolate chips. I didn’t go all out with the decoration instead choosing an orange flavoured buttercream drizzled with dark chocolate.

IMG_20140915_211237[1]The end result was the cakes came out of the oven soft and spongy. Despite orange extract being added to both the cake mixture and the icing there was only a subtle taste of orange, this could have been because I forgot to brush the cakes with a flavoured sugar syrup whilst they were still warm. I used my own buttercream recipe ( 150g butter, 1 teaspoon orange extract, 280g icing sugar) but reduced the amount of icing sugar used so it wasn’t as sweet as I would normally make it, I think this worked well with the chocolate.

Overall the cakes seemed to be popular with everyone or maybe they were just happy with some free! whatever the reason they got eaten and I think they looked very cute.

You can find instructions how to decorate the cupcakes in the original design on the national cupcake week website.

Cake Recipe / Method

Ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 180g castor sugar
  • 240g sr sponge flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 mls milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. (170°C if using a fan oven)

Method:

  1. Beat together the butter and caster sugar until mixture is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes in a mixer) Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with each egg. Add vanilla.
  2. Fold in 1/2 remaining flour and salt. Fold in the milk. Fold in the remaining flour and salt.
  3. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the center of the oven. Bake for 17 minutes.
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Brush with vanilla sugar syrup. (Vanilla syrup – Bring to boil in a saucepan, 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, leave to cool)

Got my baking mojo back!

A few weekends back I had to make some cupcakes for my eldest nephew’s IMG_20140830_114321[1]birthday party with his nursery friends. , for some reason I just seemed every batch seemed to be turning out worse than the last one. There was no way I was going to be able to present these to the kids. For whatever reason the cakes kept coming away from the cases. I read that it could be the cakes were underbaked or there is too much moisture in the cake so I cooked the next batch a bit longer and they were awful, over baked!

IMG_20140830_180421[1]I eventually got fed up and  went to my mums and made the cakes there, in the end they turned out the way they usually do.

I decided I need a bit of a break from work spent a few days visiting Canterbury and Tropical Wings.

I had been wanting to visit Canterbury since I saw it featured on an episode of the Hairy Bikers. It is a nice place, lots of independent shops down some side streets as well as your shops you can find and almost any high-street.

It was my first time visiting Tropical Wings, if you have kids it’s a nice place to take them, even if you don’t have kids it’s a still a nice place to visit. The saune part is where you’ll find the butterfly’s and other animals you would likely find in a tropical environment. Outside the zoo is where animlas like Lizards, Meerkats, goats etc can be found. For some reason one nephew just wanted me to carry him, it was a mission getting him to go to anyone else, back is paying for it.

IMG_20140831_190438[1]I haven’t forgotten my cinnamon challenge, last week I made cinnamon coated chocolate chip orange cookies. These biscuits are fully of butter and sugar but are crumbly and addictive. Reason why I shared them out amongst family and work colleagues. it was also on this day I managed to break my mum’s micorwave. I’m told that it wasn’t my fault and that the microwave door was getting stuck it just so happens that it remained shut when I used it and it decided to turn on and  not switch off! I’m not sure what my mums plans are for the microwave as it is built in but is using a free standing one for now. I have offered to pay for repairs.

IMG_20140903_213324[1]Whilst I was in the baking mood this week I wanted to try some blueberry pancakes and found this easy recipe online, plus it also uses a bit of cinnamon. I added a bit more sugar than the recipe stated as I wanted them a bit sweeter. Overall this was the first time I enjoyed homemade pancakes.

Hot weather & me intimidating? Of course not :-D

It has been hot, I don’t mind a bit of heat but this humidity is doing nothing my hair!

All I can say is thank goodness for makeup, I don’t think I’ve had a full night’s sleep since this ‘warm’ weather has started hence much needed makeup…even though it seems to ‘melt’ off when I start ‘glowing’ in this heat. There’s a cute image for you 😉

In my blog piece heatwave I talked about how a bit of sun can affect people’s fashion sense. Subtle requests for people to dress with some class in this weather has fallen on deaf ears resulting in sunny Cornwall taking a more direct yet polite approach with this sign. Whether members of the public heed this advice is another matter, made me laugh anyway..I know I have a problem, I’m a sizeist, I’ve come to terms with it!CornwallSignI maybe venturing into the lions den this weekend, also known as my sister’s house, a water fight may possibly be on the cards depending on the weather. You’re not ever too old for a water fight, though I have a feeling the cute faced nephews are not going to play fair..hmmm. Don’t be fooled by the angelic exterior of children, beneath the surface lies a crafty and clever being that can play an adult without them even knowing they have been ‘had’ by a child. Don’t turn your back on them either, silence with kids is a bad thing, that is when they are plotting. I’m sooo going to lose at this water fight, maybe we’ll just play in the park instead, it sounds like a much safer option…for me.

20140720_CuteCupcakesChoc[2]I like baking, I like eating the occasional sweet treat. Throughout the World Cup it seemed my office turned into a mini bakery, if my breakfast didn’t contain at 20140711_WorldCupCaked[1]least one cream cake there was something wrong. The people on my floor were doing a sweepstake guessing the winners and predicting the score. For some reason the winner of the sweepstake then brought in cakes for everyone.

The warm weather does make baking difficult. Aside from the fact the oven heats up the kitchen and living room whilst I’m trying to keep the house cool with open windows, doors and a fan. Working with fondant is a trial, as for working with chocolate complete nightmare. Still somehow I managed to put these little cuties together.

If you didn’t already know I am currently single but do dabble in the dating scene when I have the patience for it. I’m aware of my flaws but like with many things I have come to accept them, it isn’t necessarily my fault if other people can’t. Something my tenant said to me did make me giggle, when I meet a nice guy maybe I should not come across as being too independent and strong minded as I could be intimidating. In the words of my tenant, guys like to take care of us girls so try not to dent their ego. It’s not like I do or say things intentionally it just happens. I can handle a bit of spoiling and being taken care off but I can’t always hide the fact that I can also do some things myself without the need for a guy. It’s something I could work on but in all fairness I don’t see why I should. Maybe that will change when I do eventually meet the right one for me, I’ll become accustomed to being looked after and become a lady of leisure having coffee morning ..who am I kidding I think we all know that being a feisty independent and at times colossal pain in the booty is just part of my charming personality. 😀

Cake me baby one more time!

I’ve been having a bit of a baking fest, it had been a while since and I missed it!

banner-blueAt the beginning of the month it was my sister’s birthday, the majority of us got together the weekend before to celebrate. Instead of a birthday cake she had birthday cupcakes made by yours truly. This way there was no faffing around with cutting and who got the bigger slice. The most difficult decision was which flavour and letter to go for! For a change my demonically yet angelic nephews ate all of the cake and not just the icing.

banner-blueIt is currently the month of Ramadan, I know I am a bad Muslim for not fasting but one of my tenants is. We missed her birthday the week before so to make up for it we had a takeaway feast when her fast opened. I know she has an unhealthy addiction to Oreo biscuits, being the caring person I am helped her with her addiction by baking her some Oreo biscuit fudgy brownies. I used a recipe from Lorraine Pascale and at first was a bit dubious as it used a lot of eggs and only 2 tablespoons of flour. From the picture it looks a bit messy, once cut up it is definitely a ‘go to’ cake in times of an emotional crisis…or if I just fancy something gooey and chocolaty to go with some ice cream! Usually after a heavy kickboxing session, I need to regain some of those lost calories somehow. 😉

I’m not sure if this is an acquired taste, during my drizzle cake experiment phase I used limes and tested the end results out on a friend and her kids. banner-blueIt’s not a completely unpleasant taste but as this friend put it the taste was ‘unusual.’ Saying that, her kids liked it enough that they have been asking for some, so I made them some. It could be my own creative imagination but when the cake came out of the oven it looked like there was a smiley face on top, it was a happy cake!

It was a week for unusual baking, I’ve heard of using beetroot in chocolate cakes but not ever sweet potato. A friend at work brought some sweet potato brownies in, the guys had to guess what the secret ingredient was, one person suggested Marmite! FYI there is a recipe to make Marmite cupcakes.

banner-bluebanner-blueOn top of baking there have been a few birthdays, so this was my breakfast for a few days.  Not the healthiest but also not a bad way to start the day.

Have a good week peeps!

It could have been a much worse week

Although it has been one of ‘those’ weeks it could have been much worse.

  • Have had a cold 😦
  • Got up late for work, for some reason switched the alarm off!
  • Still getting used to new oven and nearly burnt chocolate muffins, they were at the stage just before crispy!
  • No kickboxing at all this week!

Just because there were a few negatives doesn’t I’ve written off the entire week.

  • Past tenant is over from France and met up with her Saturday evening. We went bowling and ate lots of bad food 😀20140323_TheatreCupcakesYaz[1]
  • Dropped some birthday presents and  cupcakes for a friend’s daughter, she is into baking and has taken part in theatre productions of High School Musical and Little Shop of Horrors. Also managed to have a quick catch up.
  • My front garden fence has been put up and it looks good!
  • Tried to speak with a cousin I have not ever met or spoken with, it was an experience as seeing my urdu is shocking (I can understand it) and she doesn’t speak much English…google translate maybe 😉

I am going to have to re-think how I buy makeup, unless the item is all sealed like fort knox I’m not buying it! During a shopping tript with my mum I was looking at buying some new mascara. Whilst at a counter I noticed another customer try on lipstick and put it back, and it wasn’t a tester!! My mum noticed and I was speaking quite loudly about how disgusted I was by this persons behaviour, what if she has a cold sore?!?. I couldn’t see which lip gloss she tried on else I would have taken it to a sales assistant, I should have taken them all off the shelf. I think I saw this girl do it again at another counter. I was going to speak to a sales assistant but my mum didn’t want a scene The makeup I bought was all wrapped up with no seals broken. Just how dirty and disrespectful are people? If I was that skin confident I would go makeup free, luckily I barely were lipstick otherwise its good old Vaseline.

This weekend a friend is popping round for dinner, followed by Sunday with my nieces aqiqa.

Have a good weekend! 😀

I’m exhausted….but a happy bunny! :-D

Though exhausted I feel things are finally coming together and getting back on track. 😀

20140312_NurseCakesMichelle[1]Before the death of my oven I had already agreed to make some cupcakes for my20140312_NurseCakesMichelle2[1] tenant who would be changing jobs and wanted to take in some leaving cupcakes. Still without a working oven I once again took over my mum’s kitchen. I had already made some of the fondant decorations but with 20 cakes ( I made a few extra) to make there were going to be a lot of decorations. My tenant had left it to me to decide what type of decorations to do, so I mixed it up with fondant decorations and simple piped buttercream on top. From what I have heard they were a hit.

I won’t have to annoy my mum and take over her kitchen again as my new cooker has arrived and has been fitted! I haven’t used the oven yet, it’s a friend’s daughter’s birthday coming up so I may test out the oven making her a few birthday cupcakes. Her daughter is into theatre, music as well as the obligatory girlie things so will have a think on how to decorate her cupcakes.

I’m steadily getting back into kickboxing both physically and mentally. To improve my flexibility one of my instructors have advised I do squats and lunges with weights at home. OMG!! Booty, legs the works are feeling the burn! I know the phrase ‘no pain no gain’ buuttt at the moment all I’m getting is the pain, when is the gain coming my way??

My sister is planning an aqiqa; blessing but asian style- for my niece, I needed a new Asian outfit for the occasion as all the ones I’ve got have too many many sequins and design work on them. My brothers girlfriend had decided she would also like to wear an Asian outfit so was invited along to a shopping trip to Ilford Lane, Essex.

She had been warned by my brother and one of his friends about Ilford Lane beforehand though luckily it was a good day. Maybe because the sun was shining or we’d entered the twilight zone but everyone including the other drivers were in a nicer, politer mood.

My youngest sister wasn’t able to come along so I was tasked with trying to find her something, shop after 20140316_FarzanaAsianOutfit[1]shop, I took pictures of so many outfits to send to her all of which weren’t up to standard..I begun to lose the will to live! Finally I found an outfit and in 20140316_FozAsianOutfit[1]the right size for her. When I dropped it off at my parents she was happy with it and it fitted, good thing too because I wasn’t going back to change it! The image to your right was the outfit I got my sister.

The image to your left is the design I got but in a royal blue. It’s long but with heels it looks good, floaty and it was on sale! 😀

Whilst out and about it had started to get late and we also had my niece with us so decided to get some Indian take away, I also got my tenant some chicken curry! By the time I had dropped the clothes off at my parents and got home I was so exhausted, I think I was running on adrenaline as I was a bit hyper, hungry and tired.

Wish me luck, I’m off to get my booty kicked tonight!

1st Birthday party weekend!

I survived the kids party! The weather was pretty shocking Friday night, it had improved by Saturday but the QE2 Bridge was still closed. My sister contemplated whether to still go to the party or not, three kids in the car stuck in potential traffic was not a tempting offer! We braved it and were lucky there was hardly any traffic and the kids slept most of the way.

It was a 1st birthday party and many of the kids there were very young, I managed to keep my demonically cute nephews entertained with a game on my phone and in the process acquired a few more kids. Following the cake cutting the new editions disappeared back to their parents and of course to eat cake! The cake was good 🙂

20140215_DexterBirthdayCakes[1]I made some cupcakes as gifts to give to the parents of the one year old whose birthday it was. It’s a good way to test out the cakes and it was just a nice thing to do. 🙂 I think the parents will be all caked out by now lol

That same morning my housemate told me her boyfriend’s cousin past away. It was a bit of a shock as he was only a few years older than me. These situations make you sit back and think about things, I think I’m doing alright at the moment. Work is ok, it pays for the things I enjoy doing. I do push myself, a bit of a challenge doesn’t hurt anyone. 😉

Climbing

ClimbingWallSunday I was back at climbing. I hadn’t been for about two weeks and missed going. It was exhausting and I managed to climb up one wall that I had been struggling with for ages! My brothers had no problems with this particular wall with them being taller than me did make a difference. By the time I had made it back down and had both feet planted on solid ground I was exhausted but also impressed with myself. I almost forgot, although my wrist strapped up, it’s been a few days now and no aches so far. :-D.

Back home, I had been wanting to try out an eggless cupcake recipe.20140216_EgglessNoIcing[1] I may have slightly overworked the mixture a bit, apart from that the cakes turned out better than I expected, light, spongy, they rose and didn’t sink when they came out of the oven! What the cake lacked in sweetness the buttercream made up for. I’ve being trialing them out on some friends who I know will give an honest critique. There are a few things I will do differently next time, the recipe called for vegetable oil but it made the cakes look dark brown, I’ll try sunflower oil instead.

The next step for me is to decorate some dummy cakes to showcase my decorating skills.

Planning for operation Thomas the Tank Engine cake begins this weekend. 😀

Kickboxing

I thought I’d gone unscathed from Tuesday’s, class. Woke up this morning with the ab area aching, even laughing is causing the worked muscles to react. I must be on my way to getting that 6 pack! 😉

Baking Challenges

The weather over here in the UK has stepped up this week. USA have snow we’ve got torrential rain with parts of the UK being submerged underwater. We’re not at the fabled Atlantis stage but keeping arms bands close to hand wouldn’t go amiss in some areas!

Fortunately I don’t live close to the coast, the most I have to worry about is either have to drive through areas that over night a mini pond has appeared or being blown away by the wind. There’s no point even spending time on my hair these days as the wind manages to give me that ‘wind swept’ look which I can’t pull off, all from just walking to and from my car.

20140131_234927_Sarah.H.Cakes2[1]Weather news aside, I have been busy either baking or working on perfecting a fondant Thomas The Tank Engine Face. I baked a batch of cupcakes for my first 20140131_235155_Sarah.H.Cakes[1]non family or friend related customer. I was nervously excited and went to bed extremely late Friday night but in the end it was worth it.

20140203_164410_BusinessCard[1]My business cards arrived this week, they were delivered to my place of work. I’m glad I work with a group of people who are used to me, when I opened the box I was like a child opening her presents.

Next step is to continue to make the cupcakes with a variety of designs, muffins and biscuits palm them off to others to taste, along with the business cards. Additional marketing ideas I am going to look into as well. I have been investing in a few cake decorating tools, some of which I’ve already used, others I’ve yet to try out.

I have no idea how this little side venture is going to turn out but I figure there is no harm in trying. Plus I enjoy it, even if it does mean I have to get by on less sleep than usual for a little while. 😀

Weekend

Over the weekend, after delivering the birthday cupcakes I met up with friend & her husband. We had planned to go for a climbing session at the Basildon Sports Village. This was their first time climbing and my first time mentoring. There were other experienced instructors on hand to help me out with anything I had missed out when ‘teaching’. On the whole I think it was a good session, I think my friend’s husband enjoyed it slightly more than her. We’ll see if they decide to give it another go.

Sunday my parents were round with mum in project manager mode whilst my dad put up a shelf for me. Whilst my dad was putting up the shelf, as mums do, my mum was looking around my kitchen and noticed some of the seal by the kitchen window needed replacing. I said it was fine and I would get round to doing myself. was my mum ok with that? Noooooo, she made my dad do it. It wasn’t a big job and I am capable of doing it but my mum still had my dad do it. I wasn’t going to complain. 😉

Onto Thomas. What can I say, trying to get the fondant face looking as Thomas like as can be, I haven’t even worked out how I’m going to make build the cake train yet all this effort for a two year old who will demolish it quicker than the time it will take to blow out his birthday candles! It is a challenge and I’m likely to have nightmares of Thomas for some time, on the plus side it is a good way to develop some crafting skills.

As you can see my first attempt was not a rip roaring success and was consequently named ‘Evil Thomas’!

20140126_202002_EvilThomas[1]

The second attempt went slightly better but I was informed his nose was too ‘fat’! So we’ll call him ‘Chubby Thomas

20140129_205255Thomas.V2[1]

Buy this point I had decided to invest in some plasticine.

The colours are a bit out there but they are what came in the packet! This is ‘Scary Thomas

20140204_211543Thomas.v4[1]

By the time I had got to the final version I have to admit I was no longer a fan of old Thomas! As my youngest sister pointed out, I had done well from where I started out with ‘Evil Thomas’.

20140206_073220Thomas.V5[1]

This weekend I am going to be attempting to bake and shape a smaller version of a Thomas the Tank Engine train shaped cake. Fingers crossed this (apparently) lovable children’s character doesn’t reduce me tears. :-s