Easter Nest Cupcakes

Easter

Easter is a time for eating chocolate right? but no one has time to slave in the kitchen when they should be Easter Egg hunting;  so here is a super quick recipe that you can whip up this weekend with minimum fuss and maximum impact!

Makes 8-12 depending on the size of your cases

For the cakes:

110 g Butter
110 g light brown sugar
Pinch of baking powder
75g self raising flower
2 eggs
25g coco powder

For the topping:

1 bag mini eggs
110g butter, softened
170g  icing sugar
55g cocoa powder, sifted
1-2 tbsp milk

1) Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5/190 fan

2) Sift the flour and coco powder into a bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients, beat with an electric mixer until smooth

3) spoon the mixture into your cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 min

4) Cream the butter, icing sugar and coco into a bowl and mix well. loosen with milk if necessary

5) When the cakes are cool put your butter-cream into a piping bag (I used Wilton star tip 1m) and pipe a line of icing round the circumference of the cake, add a blog in the center and place 3-4 mini eggs on top

There we have it, how easy was that?

Happy Easter Everyone!

Vintage Cupcakes

2015-03-30 13.44.43After my initial delve into cake decoration I thought it was time to go one step further.

With a little help from my friends at The Cake Decorating Store I’ve whipped up some Vintage inspired cupcakes for you to have a go at!

I did some experimenting with:
Strawberry buttercream from Barefoot baker
Pink edible glitter
A Wilton 1M Decorating Tip
Disposable 21″ Piping Bags
Vintage cupcake ‘picks’
Ivory Cupcake Cups
‘Handmade with love’ ribbon

To start with I made up some basic cupcakes using this recipe which was great for freezing- this allowed me to decorate slowly over a few evenings and the cakes are still super moist after being defrosted (trust me I’ve had a few..). I think if you wanted to decorate cakes like this for a big event then making and freezing is really the way forward! Buttercream even freezes really well if you want to make this ahead of time too.

The main technique I wanted to master was the buttercream rose look, I did some research online and had a few practice attempts at this admittedly! I found this video really helpful- mainly for telling me how to fill a piping bag without making a total mess!

The only thing I would really advise is a nice full piping bag with room temperature butttercream. Originally my straight-from-the-fridge buttercream was a nightmare; after warming it up and a few swear words from me, it flowed beautifully and I’m so happy with the results!! A sprinkle of  glitter was just that finishing touch don’t you think?

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I think the real star of the show here is the cupcake case itself, they really give you a nice full cake, they don’t sag in the oven and they give any design you choose a really professional finish. I’d really love these in some other colours and think they make a nice change from the traditional frilly edge design.

I also had a go with the cupcake picks which looked really nice with these little frozen berries I had, and the ribbon was a super easy touch that id like to try on a bigger cake.

cupcakescupcakes cupcakesI had lots of fun with these cupcakes, and although the kitchen looks a little worse for wear from it I’m inspired to keep decorating!

Have you tried anything new recently?

*This is a sponsored post, I was asked to review these items by The Cake Decorating Store, but the dodgy icing skills are all my own!*

Meggie’s – Gifts, Lifestyle & Lovely Local Things

Meggie's - Gifts, Lifestyle & Lovely Local ThingsMeggie's - Gifts, Lifestyle & Lovely Local ThingsMeggie's - Gifts, Lifestyle & Lovely Local Things

This week I’m taking a little look at a lovely new shop; Meggie’s, based in Painswick in the Cotswolds. I first saw this lovely little shop on twitter- a mixture of gifts and local produce, the shop is based next to Meg’s parents pub, falconpainswick.co.uk.

Owner Meg explains:

‘I always dreamt of owning my own shop. After travelling, studying at University, working in Youth Work and hospitality for a number of years, I was lucky enough to grab the opportunity to open Meggie’s, my first little gift shop.

Meggie’s is full of beautiful gift ideas, cards, home interiors, accessories, jewellery and lots more. A mix of new items you might not have seen on the high street and lovingly handmade items made here in The Cotswolds, which makes Meggie’s totally unique.’

 The passion Meg has for her shop is obvious and with her rustic décor and handmade items this really is such a great place to get a unique, not on the high-street gift. Isn’t it just lovely to see someone follow their dream and create something this great? I really do envy Meg and her hard work with the shop and implore you to take a look and to maybe even go and visit!

Below are some items from her range which is always being added to so be sure to take a look on-line at the brand new website! 

Follow Meggie’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. & don’t forget to take a look at falconpainswick.co.uk

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Red Nose Day Bake Off

I absolutely love any excuse to eat cake and I’ve thrown myself into organising a Red Nose Day Bake Off at my office- All this cake based research has thrown up some amazing recipes that I’d thought I’d share! There are also some great things here to download to help you arrange  your own bake off. So whether its an office, school, anywhere! Why not organise your own bake off for comic relief on 13th March!

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Raspberry and white chocolate blondies // Red Nose, Cookie Pizza Pie // Red Velvet Chocolate-Swirled Brownie Bars

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Cherry Mallow Traybake // Red Velvet Cupcakes // Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

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Malteaser Slice // Whoopie Pies // Salted caramel Brownies

 Why not get even more inspiration on my new Pinterest Bake Sale Board!

I will also be blogging about the outcome of my event , watch this space!

Mothers Day JOY with Bloom & Wild

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Since owning my own home I’ve discovered the JOY that is fresh flowers. I was kindly asked to review some from Bloom and Wild a few months back, ever since I’ve followed them and noticed a great idea on their blog- I think this a great fun project and I was super keen to have a go at this for Mothers day!

For this Idea you will need:

  1. Cardboard letters, in the word of your choice
  2. Floral foam (I used one block for these three letters)
  3. Cellophane
  4. Scissors
  5. Flowers, a good mix of small and larger blooms

(I got everything I needed for this from Hobby Craft)

Method:

  • Line the letter boxes with plastic (the video is great for showing this)
  • Soak Your floral Foam in water and cut to fit the boxes
  • Cut your flowers and push into the foam
  • Enjoy!

You could go with any word of course, I’m not likely to see my mum on actual Mothers Day so thought this was a nice gift that could last a little longer, plus the word JOY just makes you excited about spring doesn’t it?

TIPS

-As well as normal blooms I added some treats from the garden including springs of thyme and heather which gave it a really nice rustic feel

-Use the cellophane from your bloom and wild packaging, it brilliant for this!

-There’s a great video up on the blog which shows you how to prep the letters ready for their flowery friends too.

-If you can’t get hollow letters (like I couldn’t) buy the solid ones, I found it easy to remove the top layer of cardboard to make them hollow

Let me know if you have a go, I’d love to see your outcome!!

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***Disclaimer- I was kindly sent these flowers to take on this craft project, having a go at this project was to my own idea and is no way tainted by my kind gift from Bloom and Wild ***

Kinship Of Oxford

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 Today I thought it would be great to focus on an awesome business being run from my new home, Oxford! Kinship is a quirky on-line store that has a great mix of gifts, homeware and jewellery, a great place to look for those more unusual gifts without paying the premium prices some sites charge!

Owner of Kinship, Rosie says:

‘I set up kinship of Oxford 2 years ago to be a great online gift shop, based in Oxford, selling a cornucopia of interesting and varied gifts. I buy from UK designers and small businesses and where possible buy products that are made in the UK as I believe that traceability is really important and makes the end gift more special as a result. The focus of the range is on fun, quirky and colourful products curated into one cohesive shop.

We aim to only stock items we truly love and have enjoyed using or testing, and in turn hope that you enjoy and cherish them too. Price is also key when putting together the range. I want to make sure that you can choose from a wide range of gifts around £10 and £15 as well as having a few extra special items over £50.’

Kinship also have a great physical presence with there regular pop up events,  you can keep up to date with future events on the sites Twitter feed @KinshipofOxford

You can take a look at what’s on offer over at the website! KinshipofOxford.com and there is even free UK delivery over £30, what could be better?

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A Weekend In Dartmoor

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Last November Paul and I booked a weekend away in Devon, We absolutely loved it so I thought I’d share some moments from the trip. As you can see above we stayed in an amazing cottage. Log fires, delicious breakfast and brilliant hosts, I cant recommend them enough and you can find them here . Near Tavistock this was the perfect base for some adventures; wet weather was a bit of a damper so we headed to the Eden project on day one which was just as I remembered it from when I visited as a kid! The next day we headed to Postbridge and took a 2-3 hour walk to the amazing waterfall you can see above. We even navigated just with maps, no fancy gadgets here.. the area was pretty boggy and had lots of mini rivers cutting off sections so we had to do some jumping over (which was pretty scary!) We headed back in the evening and enjoyed a bath, got the fire going and then went for a meal at Taylors which was exceptional. We were so sad to leave; it will hold a place in my for a long time and I’m dying to go back!

Deliciously Decorated with Charlotte White

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 As a bit of a hap-hazard baker one of my new years resolutions was to take a little more time and be a little more precise with my baking. Needless to say being asked to review ‘Deliciously Decorated by Charlotte White‘ came at just the right time to inspire me to push myself with my cake decorating skills. Now I must admit the cakes in this book felt a little daunting, they really do look amazing, so I’ve eased myself in gently with these sugar paste roses. I’m hoping to test my skills further next month with me Red Nose Day Bake Off; but for now here’s how I got on. I think these cakes would be fab for valentines (well I missed the boat there) but also for Mothers Day.

Still a long way to go I think but with some practise I think I could get the hang of this! The instructions were so easy to follow and I’m pretty pleased with the results! Overall this is a great book with loads of ideas- I’d say that some cakes here seem quite daunting for a novice like me, but for those with a little experience this is a great book for inspiration and new ideas. As well as that it has some delicious cake recipes to act as your base to the decoration- there’s a particular salted caramel cake that is happening for sure!

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 I’d recommended investing in some cake decorating goodies to take full advantage of this book, I’ve listed a few here to get you thinking!

Cakedecs

Piping Set // Fondant Cutter // Silicone Icing Mat

~Disclaimer: I was asked to review this book- but all opinions are my own!~

Deliciously Decorated by Charlotte White (£16.99 hardback, Available from 12 February 2015) @restorationcake