Mini Egg Chocolate Pavlovas – Bake of the Week

cadbury's mini egg chocolate pavlovas

The internet is full of Easter recipes at the moment. Mini chocolate Eggs and Creme Eggs have never been used as creatively. I still want to share with you, my Mini Egg Chocolate Pavlovas though. The Mini Eggs are not just used for decoration – there are actually loads of them crushed inside the meringues, giving them a rich chocolately flavour. The key to making any pavlovas is to really take your time – This is especially important when you are adding extra ingredients such as the Mini Eggs and the extra vanilla extract that go into this recipe. I increase the amount of vanilla that goes into these pavlovas to reflect the sweetness and vanilla that is is in the Mini Eggs – You can really taste them!

Mini Egg Chocolate Pavlovas

Serves 10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 50 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party, Easter, Valentines day
Delicious chocolate mini pavlovas filled with sugary, crispy mini eggs - decorated with double cream and more mini egg for decoration. Perfect for Easter!

Ingredients

  • 3 Egg Whites (Keep at room temperature for 20 minutes before using)
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1.5 teaspoons Cornflour
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 100g Mini Eggs (Plus more for decoration)
  • 284ml Double Cream (Whisked until stiff)

Directions

Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 140C
Whisk the eggs thoroughly on a medium speed until you have stiff peaks
Very slowly, add the caster sugar 1 teaspoon at a time whilst still whisking
Remove the whisk and add the Cream of Tartar, Cornflour and Vanilla Extract - Again do this really slowly and fold in extremely gently with a metal dessert spoon
Crush the Mini Eggs - I do this by putting them between 2 chopping boards and pressing down. I like to leave some chunks larger than others
Spoon out the pavlovas onto the baking trays, evenly spread apart. I get a maximum of 6 on each tray. I normally like to pipe my pavlovas but due the chunks of mini eggs that would get stuck in the nozzle, i use 2 dessert spoons to distribute.
Using a teaspoon, gently press an indentation in the middle of each pavlova
Bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the door ajar, keeping the pavlovas inside the oven for at least another hour or until the oven is completely cooled
Fill with double cream and arrange more mini eggs on top as decoration

Did you know it is National Carrot Day next week (4th April)? I’ll be doing something to celebrate myself but for now I’d like to make Kerry Cooks this week’s featured bake with her Carrot Cake Cookies – These sounds absolutely perfect … and almost healthy!

carrot cake cookies cream cheese frosting

bake of the week

And so onto the Bakes of the Week – Let’s start with the chocolate bakes …

1. Fudgey and Chocolatey Black Bottomed Banana Blondies – what’s not to love from Baking in Pyjamas?

2. A wonderful chocolately alternative to Hot Cross Buns, Brioche Chinois from Tales from the Kitchen Shed

3. Also gearing up to celebrate National Carrot Day is Winnie with this amazing Chocolate & Carrot Cake – I just love those nuts peeping through.

4. Combining the taste of Bounty Bars with Freeze Dried Strawberries in her Chocolate & Coconut Truffles is Hey Cakes this week

5. Celebrating National Oatmeal Cookie Day with their Chocolate covered Raisin Oatmeal Cookies is the Lass in the Apron

6. If you are trying to owed your sugar intake, Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins has a Sugar Free Strawberry & Chocolate Cake for you – I’m really intrigued how this would taste.

7. I have been dreaming about this Coconut & White Chocolate Layer Cake since I saw it earlier in the week – Lass in the Apron

8. Also making the best use of Mini Eggs this week is Eileen from Et Speaks From Home with her Hidden Easter Egg Chocolate Truffles

9. A Magnificent Maltesers Masterpiece from Mummy Mishaps with her Maltesers Pouring Cake

10. Just one glaze isn’t enough for this Peanut Butter n Chocolate Bundt – it has 2 glazes! Baking in Pyjamas

11. So pretty and neat, another Mini Egg creation – A Girl and her Home with her Mini Egg Chocolate Cake

fruity bakes

And now the fruity bakes …

12. I love how creative this Banana Split Bundt is from Baking in Pyjamas

13. I bet these Cranberry & Lime Shortbread Creams from Jen’s Food are wonderfully tarty – Beat Custard Creams any day!

14. Feeling summery with a Triple Layer Lemon Cake is Baking in Pyjamas

15. Featuring 2 of my favourite flavours, Orange & Almond Jelly Swiss Roll from Domestic Gothess

16. Making Mornings Marvellous is the FreeFrom Farmhouse with their Breakfast Apple Oat Muffins

17. Amazingly bright and colourful, Blood Orange Mini Tarts from Giraffes Can Bake

And the rest of the bakes – So many wonderful creations this week – Easter is obviously a busy time for baking…

18. You’ve got to feel for Claire from the Good Egg Foodie – She lives with a marzipan hater. Luckily for her, these Easter Simnel cookies passed the test!

19. A Strawberry Triple Layer Birthday cake fit for Baking Queen 74’s 3yo princess

20. Super creative and colourful, Baked Rainbow Donuts from Giraffes Can Bake

21. Making a very welcome return to blogging with a Maple & Pecan Bundt is FoodJam

22. How did I not know that Norway’s favourite cake is one of my favourites too? Verdens Beste 0 Yellow sponge with almonds and cream. Perhaps I should move?

23. Making an absolutely superb job of a Giant Vanilla Ice Cream Cupcakes from Sandy at Baby Baby

24. A savoury entry with Tandoori Naan stuffed with Potatoes & Onion from Herbs, Spices & Tradition

25. Very pretty and trendy Easter Egg Macarons from Jenny at Mummy Makes Cakes

I think we are all ready for summer to make an appearance – This Summer Fruit Cake would welcome it in with style – Winnie’s Blog – I must apologise to Winnie, somehow her cake got missed off the photos. It was bound to happen one week! So sorry x

A huge thank you to everyone for spreading the word and helping to make #Bakeoftheweek busier every week. I am away with Millie at England training for Synchronised Swimming next Mon/Tues so am extending the linky until the following week – Feel free to add up to 6 bakes (old ones are welcome as long as they link to this post). Think of me travelling from St Helens to Aldershot (Via Leeds). I’ll be sharing everyone’s posts like mad when I’m away – I’ve got to keep busy somehow!

cadbury's mini egg pavlovas

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Cornmeal Pancakes – Foodie Friday

cornmeal pancakes

I’m still using up that bag of cornmeal and remembered how amazing cornmeal pancakes are – Crispier and more cake-like than normal pancakes. How could I forget how divine they can be? And so quick to make – This batch were measured, made and photographed in 10 minutes! Now currently being devoured by Millie as I type. The perfect after school snack.

I’ve served them with bacon & maple syrup but they are equally good with whatever pancake topping you usually use.

Cornmeal Pancakes

Serves 12
Prep time 4 minutes
Cook time 4 minutes
Total time 8 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Lunch, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Speedy after school snack = crispy cornmeal pancakes with a fluffy, light centre

Ingredients

  • 90g Cornmeal
  • 65g Plain Flour
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 250ml Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Directions

Mix all the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, salt & sugar) in a medium bowl
In a jug, measure out the milk. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk.
Gradually add to the dry mixture, constantly whisking. Leave to settle for 1-2 minutes while your frying pan is heating up
Add 3 scoops to a frying pan allowing space for the pancakes to spread a little
As soon as they start to bubble on the top (after 1-2 minutes), turn over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes
Stack on top of each other and add your favourite topping

 Last week’s #FoodieFriday was all about the giveaway for the cake book (Still time to enter until 12th April). We still had some entries though and my featured post for last week is Herbs, Spices and Tradition with her Tandoori Naan (Stuffed with Potatoes and Onion) Sounds amazing doesn’t it? I love Sadhna’s post for its explanation of family tradition of cooking in the tandoor.

stuffed Tandoori Naan

Right so onto this week – Lets spread the word that FoodieFriday is well and truly back. All posts are shared on Twitter & Pinterest (& Google+ too). I comment on each one and feature one if not more post in the following week’s roundup.

Here’s the badge to include in your post:

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White Chocolate and Lemon Cheesecake Layer Cake – #evenbetterbaking with Dr. Oetker

white chocolate lemon cheesecake cake #evenbetterbaking

Longest blog post title ever? One of the nicest cakes ever too – combining two of the best inventions on earth: Cake and Cheesecake. This is one of the many chocolate recipes that can be found over on the Dr. Oetker website. They are challenging us to do #evenbetterbaking in the run up to Easter.

The people at Dr. Oetker are even running a competition throughout March. If you tweet @DrOetkerBakes a photo of a chocolate bake that you have made and include the hashtag #evenbetterbaking, then you are in with a chance of winning one of their luxury chocolate hampers.

Dr.Oetker chocolate

I wanted a bit of a challenge so decided to do a recipe that combines quite a few techniques – Cakes are dead easy but there is always the chance with a cheesecake that it might not set. Ooh living on the edge.The recipe and instructions on how to make your own White Chocolate and Lemon Cheesecake Layer Cake can be found here

The ingredients needed for this cake are simple to find, the method of actually making the cakes is slightly different to how I usually make them (I think mine is known as the ‘bung it all in the kitchen aid method’) but still worked out well.

how to melt white chocolate

It pays off to be really patient when melting white chocolate – I just can’t do it in the microwave. A glass bowl over a pan of boiling water is the only way to get truly melted white chocolate that doesn’t burn.

white chocolate lemon cheesecake cake #evenbetterbaking

I actually like the cake better without the shards of white chocolate for decoration – White chocolate shards melt really quickly so I found it much easier to just eat them. I’m out with friends later on today with our pre-schoolers, they might get lucky and get to share a piece of this creation with me! Who would you share it with?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in association with Dr.Oetker – All opinions are my own

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Alos joining in with Domesblissity for Thriving on Thursdays

Chocolate Orange Cornmeal Biscotti – Bake of the Week

chocolate orange cornmeal biscotti

I have recently fallen in love with homemade biscotti – Not quite as harsh on the teeth as shop bought and so much more versatile – So many flavours match perfectly with this type of dough. I like my chocolate orange to be properly tangy so use the zest of 2 oranges. The chocolate also has to be properly identifiable so I use Extra Dark chocolate but feel free to experiment with how you like it. I’ve had cornmeal in the cupboard for ages and decided to mix this in with the flour – As well as adding a lovely yellowy tinge, it makes the biscotti extra crumbly. I love using ingredients up in my kitchen, with successful results!

Chocolate Orange Cornmeal Biscotti

Serves 16
Prep time 1 hours, 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 2 hours
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Slightly softer than shop bought biscotti - you are in less danger of breaking your teeth! No less tasty though - Can be kept for up to a week in a biscuit tin

Ingredients

  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 115g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Zest of Oranges
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 170g Cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Grind of Salt
  • 100g Dark Chocolate (Cut into small (tiny) pieces)

Directions

Line a large baking tray with baking parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined and light in colour
Add the eggs gradually whilst still mixing at a medium speed
Add the orange zest
In a bowl (or your weighing scales bowl if you are feeling lazy) stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt
Add to the sugar/egg combo a tablespoon at a time whilst mixing on a slow speed - Stop the mixer as soon as all the flour has been added.
Add the chocolate and stir through until spread evenly throughout the dough
Split the dough mixture into 2 halves and lightly shape into a long flat sausage, wrap in double cling film
Freeze for up to one hour - it will really stiffen up - Preheat the oven to 180C
You might need to flatten down the dough and spread out until both sections measure approx 20cm long and 4cm wide
Bake for 25 mins
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes
Using a saw knife, slice the biscotti into pieces (about 1-1.5cm thick) - The end pieces can be the parts that you nibble on
Place cut side down on the baking tray and bake for another 8 minutes
Turn over so the other cut side is on top and continue to bake for a further 7 minutes
Allow to cool on a wire rack - Perfect served dipped into a hot cup of coffee!

before cutting biscotti

Arranging the biscuits for their final bake …

how to make biscotti

I’m rather well known for my love of Creme Eggs so there was an obvious featured Bake of the Week for me this week – Baking Queen 74’s fantastic Creme Egg Chocolate Ganache Tart – I love that people are being so creative with their use of Creme Egg’s this year. I’ve yet to make some Spring 2015 Creme Eggs Easter figures yet so this Tart has inspired me to get on with them!

creme egg chocolate tart

bake of the week

1. Making a brilliant job of inserting shapes into French Sable Cookies this week is The Dream Baker – I will have a go at this very soon, I keep promising myself.

2. I’m a massive fan of anything tiny so completely adore these Red Velvet Crinkle Kisses from The Not So Creative Cook.

3. Nova from Cherished By Me tells us these Coconut Chocolate Bars are a cross between a Twix and a Bounty – I’m sold!

4. The lovely Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen has got the biggest, most exciting announcement ever on her blog this week – I’m not going to spoil it for you, pop over to her post to find out what it is!

5. Any mother would be delighted to be presented with such a beautiful Mothers Day Cake Bouquet – ET Speaks From Home

6. I’ve got to try these fabulous Marshmallow Cookies from The Not So Creative Cook – Just love the step by step instructions.

7. I just love the thought of the addition of lavender flowers in this Apple Shortcake with Honey & Cinnamon -This bake from Winnie’s Blog has got just about everything you could ever want!

8. There’s no stopping ET Speaks From Home this week – She’s even found time to make the cutest Mini Monsters!

9. Making a terrific job of her sugarcraft with this Baseball Cakelet is ET Speaks From Home

10. Getting arty with her White Chocolate & Vanilla Choux Buns is Eileen from ET Speaks From Home

11. Experimenting with Coconut Oil this week is Tales from the Kitchen Shed with her Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscuit Bars – Looks like the experiment worked :-)

12. Beautiful photography and an even more stunning Lime & Coconut Loaf cake is A Girl and Her Home

13. A perfect Honey & Date Syrup Swiss Roll from Winnie’s Blog – The Swiss Roll may just be the most versatile cake ever!

I have had the loveliest message today from one of our Bake of the Week contributors that they have nominated me for a Brilliant in Blogging award – What a lovely thing to do. I’m so chuffed. Details of the awards are here if you want to take part – Any nominations would be lovely but totally not expected. I was so pleased to be there at the awards last year and am even more pleased that someone has thought of me this year. Good luck to everyone!

Thank you as always to everyone who has taken part in Bake of the Week – I really appreciate it. I will continue to mention each entry and link back to you as long as possible – Takes forever but feel it is only right if you have taken the time to enter. Please also add the Bake of the Week badge to your post and if you have time, comment on a couple of other entries.

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Let's Talk Mommy

credit crunch munch

This Is How We Roll Thursday

Joining in with A Simple Pantry for their Create & Share party I’m also joining in with this month’s CreditCrunchMunch because I’m finally using up that bag of cornmeal! Pop over to these lovely people to see who else is entering: Jo’s Kitchen, FabFoodForAll, Fuss Free Flavours and also Domesblissity Thriving on Thursdays

Cool Layer Cakes Giveaway – Foodie Friday

cool layer cakes giveaway

A little different #foodiefriday than usual, not a recipe but a giveaway of a book that I highly recommend. Cool Layer Cakes by Ceri Olofsen, is a book that is suitable for bakers wanting to expand their cake repertoire. There’s a good mix of recipes, decorations and some more intricate sugarcraft – well it looks intricate, but actually it is more than achievable for most bakers.

The book itself is bright and fun, with easy to follow instructions. There are cakes to appeal to adults and children, boys and girls. I particularly like the camouflage cake, the colours of which could be changed to suit the party theme.

camouflage cake

Other cake tutorials contained in the book are: The famous Rainbow Cake (pictured on front cover), How to make a Piñata Cake, and an intricate Battenburg type (perfect for a Minecraft lover?). You can learn how to make sugar roses and other sugar flowers, brush embroidery (which is so much easier than it looks) and mini stacked cakes.

cube minecraft cake

I have 1 copy of Cool Layer Cakes to giveaway. Please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter – UK entries only please. The competition closes at 11.59PM on Sunday 12th April 2015. When you leave a comment, please do so at the bottom of this post, rather than in the rafflecopter widget, otherwise it won’t count.

Best of luck to everyone who enters.

strawberry cake

My featured post from last week’s #FoodieFriday entries is Wheelie Good Meals with his Chicken, Pek, Leek & Sage Leftover Pie – Celebrating British Pie Week, this was Richard’s first ever pie and what a success it was. Brilliant step-by-step picture instructions. Congratulations!

chicken leek sage leftover pie

Our other entries were just as marvellous:

foodie friday roundup

1.I absolutely love these top ten tips for Mashed Potato from Tales from the Kitchen Shed – I will never bung the salt in at the last minute ever again!
2. Bakewell Junction has been using up Lemon Curd with her ever so perfect, Meyer Lemon Bars
3. Happy Blogiversary to the Cream Baker with her Chocolate Chiffon Cake
4. This Stunning Spiced Sausage Stew from Wheelie Good Meals would go down very well in our house
5. Making good use of leftover chicken is Wheelie Good Meals again with Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala
6. Beautiful colour in Herbs, Spices & Tradition’s Mango Jam Jelly – Would brighten up any dish
7. I’d be proud of this marbling if I were Eileen from Et Speaks From Home – Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Cake
8. I found Foodie Quine’s post on brushing up her food photography fascinating – Its something I have definitely tried harder with this year but there’s still work to do!

A huge thanks to everyone for entering – Don’t forget to add all your food links while you are entering the book giveaway. There is no theme and all food is welcome as long as you display the badge and link back to this post. I will be sharing like mad this week – Please feel free to spread the word about #FoodieFriday and lets get plenty of people joining in. Each post is commented on, pinned, tweeted and Google+ed. The linky is open until next Thursday morning.

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Sunshine Cookies – Bake of the Week

sunshine cookies

Its been a gorgeous day today – the sort of sunshine that makes everyone smile. You can’t help but comment in shops on how lovely the weather is – terribly British I know!

In honour of Spring doing its hardest to appear again, I’ve carried on with the Spring baking theme with my Sunshine Cookies. Soft, sweet cookies with a citrus zing. Totally addictive, one will never be enough.

Sunshine Cookies

Serves 25
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 27 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party
Soft citrus cookies with a sugary crispy shell

Ingredients

  • 100g Granulated Sugar
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Oranges (The Zest Of)
  • 1 Lemon (The Zest Of)
  • 120g Softened Butter
  • 220g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 6 tablespoons Icing Sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180C and line 3 baking trays with baking parchment
Mix the sugar and the zest of the orange & lemon.
Using an electric mixer, whisk in the butter until fully combined and light and airy
Keep the mixer on a medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla whilst still mixing.
Reduce the speed to a low setting & add the flour a tablespoon at a time, until just added.
Turn off the mixer and fold through with a spatula until just combined
Put the icing sugar in a dessert bowl - Sift if contains any lumps
Using a dessert spoon, scoop up a spoons worth of dough (it is a sticky, loose dough) and drop into the icing sugar. Coat all over the dough and roughly mould into a ball shape.
Arrange no more than 12 dough balls on an oven tray and bake for 12 minutes until just turning golden
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack
They will have a lovely sugary shell and be light, fluffy and soft inside

sunshine orange lemon cookies

My featured Bake of the Week from last week’s entries are these delightful little Chocolate Bundtlettes – How cute? And topped with a strawberry is even cuter. Like me, Jhuls from The Not So creative Cook is a migraine sufferer and is contemplating the relationship between migraines and chocolate in her post. Doesn’t put either of us off eating it though!

chocolate bundtlettes

I also want to give a special mention to Baking Queen 74 for inspiring me to make these Brownies – They are just too tempting. I’ve ended up buying 3 lots of raspberries this week, just because of these pictures!

raspberry brownies

And onto the roundup:

bake of the week

1. Oh good gracious, how incredible does this Lemon & Coconut Pull Apart Bread look from the Domestic Gothess? Those spring colours and flavours!
2. Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scones – I’m imagining eating these on a hot sunny afternoon in the garden – Baking in PJs
3. Giraffes can Bake asks who could possibly not like Creme Brûlée? I’m afraid that’s me! Even I have admit that her Lime & Ginger Brûlées look wonderful though
4. Haman’s Ears or otherwise known as Baklawa Hamantachem from Winnie’s Blog – I love anything with nuts and cinnamon!
5. Tres Leches Cake is nowhere near as popular in the UK as it should be – This looks one of the best from Giraffes Can Bake
6. Reminiscent of visiting my Grandma’s: Raspberry Coconut Loaf from Baking in Pyjamas
7. Salted Honey Walnut Pie from Baking in Pyjamas – Such an unusual combination of flavours – I bet it tastes amazing
8. Uber pretty Triangular Shortbread from Winnie’s Blog. I can feel a Baked Shapes Roundup coming soon!
9. Always popular at this time of year but consistently go down super quick with the kids, Mini Egg Rice Krispie Treats from Baking in Pyjamas
10. Small but perfectly formed, Chorizo, Red Pepper & Cheddar Quiches from Jen’s Food

#Bakeoftheweek

11. Happy 1st Birthday to The Dream Baker who is celebrating the first whole year of her lovely blog this week with this Chiffon Chocolate Cake
12. Showing off her incredible baking talent with this Almond Vanilla Twisted Bread is the Domestic Gothess
13. This pretty Orange Raspberry Swirl Bundt has been torturing me all over the internet this week: the Gluten Free Alchemist
14. Perfect looking baked donuts from Edible Reflections – Amazing for a first time donut baker
15. Putting Buckwheat flour successfully to the test with her Chocolate Muffins is I’d Rather Bake Than
16. And finally the lovely Lancashire Food with her ever so pretty, Spring Lemon & Lime Drizzle Cake

Thanks as always to those people who entered – I have a lot of people saying that they want to enter but are not expert bakers – we love learning to bake around here! Get entering and join in our lovely, friendly baking community. Please add the badge or a link back to this post so people know you have taken part.

I’m still getting round to visiting everyone but there are lots of shares going on around the internet. Feel free to follow the Bake of the Week Pinterest board

Follow Casa Costello’s board Bake of the Week – Link Up your Baked Creations every week on Pinterest.

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Entering into The Baking Explorer & Cakeyboi’s Treat Petite linky – Their theme this month is MUM, so I tarted the cookies up with a pretty ribbon to make them ideal for a Mother’s Day gift.

Also sharing with Lavender & Lovage & The Hedgecombers whose Tea Time Treats theme is happily Biscuits & Cookies this month.

Tea Time Treats Linky

TreatPetiteLogo

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Spring Lemon Eclairs – Bake of the Week

lemon eclairs white chocolate ganache

I’m declaring winter to be over – I’ve officially had enough of the cold and misery. Time for some spring in our step and in our cooking. For this week’s Bake of the Week recipe, I wanted a fresh feel – so what better than lemon eclairs with a White Chocolate Ganache topping?

I’ve mentioned before my love of making choux pastry – and now I’ve discovered that it is possible to decorate eclairs & choux buns too. I’m in heaven.

Its not been the easiest week – You may have already gathered that by how late #Bakeoftheweek is – Vi has had a horrid bout of Tonsilitis – This definitely wasn’t a house to be baking in on Monday or Tuesday of this week. She happily skipped off to school this morning though, so hopefully that’s that over with.

lemon eclairs

To make the choux pastry follow the same recipe as for the Passion Fruit & White Chocolate Profiteroles – The only difference in the baking is as follows:

Bake for 15 at 200C
Open and shut the oven door quickly and as if you mean it (so sort of slam it!)
Reduce the temp to 180 and bake for another 10 minutes
Remove from the oven – pierce a hole in the bottom of the eclair then continue to bake for a further 5 minutes.
They should be golden and crispy

To make the Lemon Cream:
250ml of double cream – Whisked until fairly firm
Grated Zest of 2-3 lemons (depending on how strong you like it)
Optional: 1tsp lemon extract

To make the White Chocolate Ganache:
4 tbsp Double Cream
100g White Chocolate

Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water – not allowing the bottom of the glass bowl to actually touch the water
At the same time, heat the double cream in a small pan until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Remove immediately from the heat.
As soon as the white chocolate has melted (Stir like crazy to make sure this happens), pour half of the slightly warm cream into the chocolate whilst still stirring.
It will look horrid but keep with it – Stir until fully combined then add the remaining cream.
The white chocolate will be thick enough to spread on top of the eclairs but for the piped brown bits, I added 2 tbsp icing sugar and some brown edible dusting powder

white chocolate cheesecake

My featured post of the week has got to be these amazing, incredible & spectacular Mini White Chocolate Cheesecakes from Winnie’s blog. There are not enough adjectives to describe this lady’s talent and these are sheer perfection. I only wish I would get chance to share some with her.

bake of the week roundup

My first roundup is all the individual portions – Love how we don’t have to share!

1. Giraffes can Bake with her Banoffee Muffins – look so light and airy
2. Baking in Pyjamas got creative with cookies and her Bourbon Creams – Yum!
3. She has definitely had a busy week as she also shared Coconut filled Brownies – I have a bag of coconut waiting patiently for me to make these!
4. Another exciting creation from Winnie’s Blog Baked Cheesecake Apples
5. Inspired by Celebrity Bake Off, Eileen from ET Speaks From Home with Chocolate Profiteroles
6. Hidden Oreo Cupcakes that are dairy, egg & nut free – Perfect from the Free From Farmhouse
7. You have no soul if you don’t fancy these Bailey Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse Oreo Tarts from Domestic Gothess
8. Another fan of white chocolate with her Jammy Dodgers is Friends Family Food
9. Perfect for the kiddies, Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes – so pretty from Mummy Mishaps

bake of the week large roundup

10. I think I have fallen in love with this Salted Caramel Hazelnut Cake from Baking in Pyjamas
11. Love the colours in this Mango Mascarpone Tart from Giraffes Can Bake
12. Truly stunning white chocolate roses on this Red Velvet Cake from Baking in Pyjamas
13. Homemade Multigrain Bread that would be perfect for any breakfast from Tales from the Kitchen Shed
14. Perfect for the picnics we will have now it is spring ;-) Coconut & Ginger Flapjacks from Domestic Gothess
15. A beautiful bake as ever from Baking Queen with her Speculoos Butter Twist Bread
16. Loving the frugal use of old cereal crumbs in this cereal cake from Jibber Jabber

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We are now open for your next entries – I’ll be catching up on all the comments and sharing over the weekend. I’m not beating about the bush finishing off but just to say, thanks for joining in – you know I love you all?!

Same rules as usual – Please add the badge, Please share the word about Bake of the Week, 3 entries maximum and have a lovely week!

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Lemon & Basil Muffins – March Secret Recipe Club

lemon basil muffins

I’ve been wanting to be a member of the Secret Recipe Club for a year now. A huge group of likeminded bloggers who are assigned a fellow member’s blog and can choose from their vast collection, which recipe to make. The waiting list is enormous as it is such an illustrious gang to be part of so I am super excited to be posting my first challenge. I am also more than a little nervous that another blogger will be making something using one of my recipes. I happily share these recipes but every now and then, it strikes me that someone might actually make one of them!! Eek!

For my first month, I was assigned Lena from Edesia’s Notebook – A churchgoing, lover of books, mum to daughters, baking enthusiast – Sound like someone you know? Seriously though, Lena’s blog is divine – I cannot believe I was lucky enough to be paired with someone with so make bakes that I wanted to make.

I chose Lemon & Basil Muffins as I was intrigued about the taste combination. The recipe was super easy to follow and turned out perfectly. The basil taste was quite subtle and I couldn’t help but tinker by adding some decoration. I caught Tara in the kitchen this morning pinching one of them so there’s praise indeed!

Lemon Basil Muffins (Recipe taken from Edesia’s Notebook) – I have adapted for UK measurements

Ingredients:
113g Softened Butter
170g Sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
3 eggs
113ml Sour Cream
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
125g Self Raising flour
Juice of 2 lemons
112g Caster Sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° (180C).
Line a muffin pan with paper or grease and flour it – I cheated and used Cupcake Cases.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
Add the lemon zest, eggs, and sour cream.
Stir in basil.
Gently fold in the flour and baking powder.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins (or until a skewer inserted comes out clean).
To make the lemon sugar, mix the lemon juice and sugar together.
Once the muffins are done, spoon the lemon sugar over the muffins immediately. The syrup will soak into the muffins and the sugar will form a crunchy crust.
Allow to cool for 10 mins before removing from the pan. Makes 12 muffins.

Edit: I have made these twice but did not have any sour cream the second time – Double Cream worked just as well.

lemon basil muffins

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Minion Birthday Cake & Party – Bake of the Week

minions birthday cake despicable me

Well, its a bit of a different Bake of the Week from me this week. I hadn’t realised how long it had been since I did a properly decorated cake until Tara said ‘Wow Mummy, did you do that ALL by yourself?!’ Bless her! We had our crazy happy week last week, when Tara & Dermot celebrated their birthdays on the same day.

There was no question that the theme of Tara’s party was going to be Minions – She’s mad on them. Her nursery bag has to be Minion, her favourite t-shirt is her Minion one (That has to be washed and ironed in lightning quick speed).

minion birthday cake

 

It was rather strange to get back into my sugarcraft drawers and I was a bit apprehensive that I might have forgotten how to do cake decorating. I think the results were ok? In fact, I really enjoyed an afternoon of creating Creme Egg Minions So much so, we started talking about maybe taking orders for some cakes after Tara starts school in September and saying YES to a possible wedding cake in November!

kevin minion creme egg cake topper

giant minion

 

The party itself was a real traditional one in our church hall which is a lovely, light, clean and spacious place. We were gifted some Minion party supplies courtesy of Party Bags & Supplies and added to the rest ourselves. That giant Minion balloon has been everywhere that Tara has this weekend – It even went strapped in the car to Manchester for synchro practice!

minions party supplies

minion party bags

Ready made party bags from Party Bags & Supplies

homemade minion party bags

Homemade Party Bags made by Millie

Tara 4th birthday party

I love a 4th birthday party, its great to see children dressed in their party gear – Girls wearing their party dresses and the boys with their little body warmers on. Too cute!

Tara was wearing a gorgeous yellow dress and navy card from Next – It wasn’t intentional that she matched the Minion colour scheme but rather fitting! Even Violet was colour co-ordinated, also wearing a yellow top and cardigan from Next.

For the entertainment, Tara chose Fran from Jo Jingles, Warrington. We attend Fran’s class every Monday and Tara just loves it. It has really brought her out of her shell and she talks about Jo Jingles all the time. Fran has amazing control of a large group – All the parents were marvelling at how she gets them to join in and keeps them contained!

jo jingles warrington 4th birthday party

jo jingles birthday party

older siblings at birthday party

Older sister, Violet with her mates, cousin & a HUGE handmade Minion!

So many amazing creations entered for our previous Bake of the Week – One flavour combination really stood out for me as a must to try …Apricot Cheesecake with Amaretto Caramel. This sounds just too incredible and right up my street from a newcomer to the Bake of the Week family, Giraffes can Bake

apricot cheesecake amaretto caramel

chocolate bakes

1. Pretty Triple Chocolate Hidden Heart Cake from Mummy Mishaps
2. Perfect pastry from Winnie with her Chocolate Halva Tart
3. Goodness me, these Red Velvet Brownies with Oreo Cream Cheese look tasty – Domestic Gothess
4. This Chocolate Chip Layer Cake is certainly the ultimate as its name suggests from Giraffes Can Bake
5. Classic combination of strawberries & White Chocolate from Baking Queen 74
6. A warm welcome to Mrs B’s Kitchen with her stunning Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
7. Introducing us to Milano Cookies with her Chocolate Cake is Dream Baker
8. I can’t get enough of cheesecake brownies – one of the best inventions ever! Jibber Jabber Uk
9. A very pretty Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake & another warm welcome to Chardonnay & Samphire
10. Looking simply heavenly …Mars Bars Stuffed Salted Caramel Blondies from Baking in Pyjamas
11. The crazy for Salted Caramel is still as popular as ever with these brownies from Baking in Pyjamas

small bites morsels

12. If you are trying to be healthy with your baking, try these Blueberry & Orange Muffin Bars from Tales from the Kitchen Shed
13. Super pretty Marshmallow Flower Cupcakes from Searching for Spice
14. If you are still feeling romantic, try these Pink Velvet Lofthouse soft cookies from Baking Chocolatess
15. Super cute Heart Oreo Sandwich Cookies again from Baking Chocolatess
16. I really fancy trying these Pineapple Cookies from Dream Baker – They are dairy free too!
17. We have got in the habit of buying Peanut Cookies for after training, I’m going to try making these from Dream Baker
18. These Lemon Velvet Squares from Baking in Pyjamas would be perfect to fit in with the yellow theme at Tara’s party

bake of the week

19. Tempting me away from my classic lemon & sugar with her Nutella Spelt Pancakes is Baking Queen 74
20. Adding Cranberry to the classic combo of Maple & Pecan in her cake is Jen’s Food – A warm welcome to you too!
21. Tasty looking Chinese Chicken Pie (but also make sure you check out those super cute Tunnocks Teacakes Sheep!) from Foodie Quine – Welcome!
22. I can’t resist a good Orange Sponge Cake & this from Snap Happy Bakes looks very tempting – a warm welcome to you too!
23. Loving these Lentil Stuffed Peppers from Herbs, Spices & Tradition
24. For the vegans amongst us, we have Valentines Vegan French Toast from the Free From Farmhouse
25. A comforting, gluten free Prune & Raisin Loaf from Lancashire Food
26. Much underused Grapefruit is added to this Honey & Almond Cake from Chocolate Log Blog and a Happy Bloggiversary to you!
27. Apple & Almond perfect pairing with My Little Italian Kitchen’s Pie – Alida seems to love almonds almost as much as I do!
28. How beautiful is this Heart Swiss Roll from Winnie’s Blog? The decoration is so clear.

Huge thank you as ever to everyone who entered their bakes – I really appreciate it and love finding all your blogs. The linky is open for this week’s #Bakeoftheweek – Feel free to tweet me @CasaCostello to let me know you have added your link and I will retweet.

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Please add the badge or a link to your post to share the word about Bake of the Week – The linky will remain open until next Tuesday 3rd March.

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Dulce De Leche Kisses – Bake of the Week

dulce de leche kisses

There are some things I make that surprise even me, how popular they are. These Dulce de Leche kisses never fail to disappear and I’m always surprised how quickly they do! I have a confession though, I used shop bought Dulce de Leche instead of making my own. I’ve had a huge tub that I bought in Costco before Christmas that I wanted to use up. Its definitely not as good as homemade but for a quick bake and when you are only using a small dollop, shop bought is just fine.

dulce de leche valentines heart

 

Dulce de Leche Kisses

Serves 30
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 52 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party, Valentines day
Mouthful portions of crumbly coconut cake with delicious Dulce de Leche decoration

Ingredients

  • 75g Butter (Cold but chopped into small chunks)
  • 3 tablespoons Soft Cheese - Full Fat
  • 96g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 190g Plain Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 60g Dessicated Coconut
  • 3 tablespoons Dulce De Leche

Note

These can be frozen before the Dulce de Leche is added - allow to defrost at room temperature for 2 hours before adding the Dulce de Leche

Directions

Add the soft cheese and vanilla whilst still mixing on a medium setting. Add the egg yolk .
Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the flour and the baking powder until just combined.
Stop the mixer and fold in the coconut.
Bring the mixture together by hand into a dough and wrap in cling film - Freeze for 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 180C and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment
Roll the dough into small balls - about the size of a Ferrero Rocher
Make an indentation in the centre with something approx 1/2 cm wide - I used a plastic cake dowel and kept dipping into flour to stop it sticking to the dough. At a push - a little finger belonging to a 4 year old would do!
Bake for 12 minutes - You might want to move the tray around after 10 to ensure an even bake but these are so small that it is not necessary
Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 1-2 minutes then pipe the Dulce de Leche in - I use a disposable piping bag as it is fairly runny

blueberry blood orange cake

Well, we had the biggest week ever for Bake of the Week this week – I’m so grateful that you all join in and am loving finding so many new bloggers that bake.

My featured Bake of the week is a lovely creation from Hey Cakes! with her Blueberry & Blood Orange Cake – The decorating is so pretty and I love the thought of that flavour combination.

I’ve separated all the other bakes (all 24 of you lovely people!) in different categories – In honour of Saturday being the most romantic day of the year, we start with Romantic Bakes

romantic bakes

1. Its lovely to welcome Baking in Pyjamas to the Bake of the Week gang with her delightful Raspberry Chocolate Heart Cookies – I think even Dermot might find these romantic!
2. I love the simplicity of Baking Queen 74’s Raspberry Shortbread Hearts – I can imagine children up and down the land making these for their parents
3. How pretty is this Chocolate Cherry Cake from Winnie’s blog? – Beautiful as ever!
4. And even more beautiful (and rather ambitious!) is this White Chocolate Mud Cake again from Winnie’s Blog
5. Just WOW! to the idea of a box of chocolate made from cake – Jibber Jabber nails it! And so much for your ‘limited decorating skills’ – you are amazing!
6. There’s no more romantic day to get married on than Valentines and this wedding cake from Caroline Makes is just exquisite – Such delicate decorations.
7. Not strictly for just Valentine’s Day but these cute little hearts make Baking in Pyjamas’ Cherry Chocolate Coconut Slices romantic nonetheless

For the dough makers amongst us …

dough

8. Domestic Gothess combines timeless Chocolate & Cherries with her Challah complete with the most amazing six strand braid
9. I’m not a fan of olives but could be tempted by this Black Olive Focaccia from Baking in Pyjamas – I will be baking focaccia very soon too.
10. And Baking Queen 74 takes slow cookers to a new level again with her Spinach & Feta Focaccia

Sometimes you don’t want to share, you just want a portion all of your own …

individual bakes

11. You have GOT to read Baking Chocolatess’ post on her Brownie Marshmallow Cookies for the full glory of the marshmallow centre. Cor! – A big warm welcome to her too!
12. Happy New Chinese Year to Eileen and her family from ET Speaks From Home who is celebrating with her peanut cookies
13. Another new entrant and a big wave ‘hello’ to These Little Lights with her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – I can imagine these disappearing quickly in this house too.
14. Super decorative cookies from Herbs, Spices & Tradition with her Eat Sum More Christmas Cookies made with her grandchildren
15. Using only 5 ingredients but turning out amazingly, Sea Salt & Pepper Caramels from Patisserie Makes Perfect
16. Perfectly uniform Vegan & Gluten Free Rhubarb & Custard Doughnuts from Allotment 2 Kitchen – Incredible for the first time making them.

bake of the week

17. A superb, rich & dark Chocolate, Peanut & Banana Loaf from Baking Chocolatess
18. Bringing back lovely memories of my Grandma who also used to bake a Coconut Raspberry Cake like this one from Julie’s Family Kitchen
19. Classic Tiramisu and a hello to Bakewell Junction – This looks rather light and delicious!
20. Bonjour to De Tout Coeur Limonsin with her rich, luscious Chocolate Fudge Brownies
21. Another newbie with her lemon white chocolate bars – I’m very tempted to have a go at these from Emotional Baker (Love that blog name!)
22. Super neat almond cake which is also Gluten and Diary Free from This is not my Home – Hello and Welcome!
23. A vegan carrot cake that looks full of goodness and taste from Free From Farmhouse – A lovely blog that I have only discovered this week.
24. And finishing with a flourish is Farmersgirl Kitchen with the sort of Tea Time Cake good bakers should always have in their larder ready (I haven’t :-()

Here is the badge for everyone to include in their post – a link to Bake of the Week is just fine if you’d rather not use the badge but please tell everyone about our gang!

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Its half term next week and its also the most manic of weeks in our house – Baby T is a big grown up 4 next Friday (on the same day that her Daddy turns 37!) Where have those 4 years gone?!? Remember this post? The linky will be extended for 2 weeks so feel free to enter up to 4 bakes each over the fortnight – I’m thinking I will be showcasing a special little girl’s birthday cake next time! I’m also off to Crystal Palace and back (twice) with Millie as she starts her England Talent training for 2015 next week – plus we are squeezing in a couple of days at Alton Towers … and a birthday party!. What are your plans for half term?

In other news, did you watch The Secret Life of 4 year olds last night? Hilarious – I will forever be calling people a ‘Green Toilet’ ;-)

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