Memory Monday, salted caramel cupcakes

‘Ello treacles,

Thought id try a small throwback to when i made salted caramel cupcakes.

Everyone seems to love salted caramel, i don’t know what it is. It’s so trendy nowadays.

To make these lovely cupcakes you will need:-

  • 125g margarine / baking spread
  • 125g light brown suger
  • 5ml of caramel flavouring
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Salted caramel sauce (for the middles, you can make your own or buy some, sometimes i find it easier just to buy it)

Buttercream:

  • 125g salted butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 5ml of caramel flavouring

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Line a cupcake tin with 10 cupcake cases.

Cream together your butter and sugar until they are nicely combined and add the caramel flavouring.

Add in the eggs a bit at a time until they are incorporated.

Add the flour and baking powder and fold in until combined.

Fill your cases and bake for 19-20 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean.

I would leave them sitting for 5 mins until they’ve cooled slightly and cut out a small (or big!) piece of cake from the middle and fill with the salted caramel sauce and pop the lid back on. You can eat the leftover bits of cake you’ve hollowed out (bakers treat!).

To make the buttercream just whizz all your ingredients together in a mixer until smooth, or if you’re strong by hand. I’d always whip the butter for a couple of minutes first until its smooth then add everything else.

Pipe on and voila you have hidden salted caramel cupcakes. Its up to you if you want to drizzle with more caramel on top i think its a nice touch.

Salted caramel

Hidden salted caramel surprise cupcakes

These are probably my most popular cupcakes, i get asked for these a lot!

What is your favourite cupcake?

 

 

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2018 Afternoon tea showdown

So, my sister and me like love an afternoon tea. We only started doing it a few years ago as it seemed like a nice afternoon out, you get tea, sandwiches, scones and cakes, what’s not to like!

At one point we became slightly obsessed and maybe did 10 in a year, last year i think we only managed a few.

So this year we’ve decided to crank it up a notch and try and do a few more.

I thought it would be fun to do a sort of rating of the teas we have!

We have ratings on Location, Service, Sandwiches, Scones, selection of cakes andTea

So here are the ratings in stars:

***** Excellent

**** Good

*** Average

** Ok

*Awful / abissmal / Boaks / gags food back up (thankfully never had to do this).

So on Saturday we went to Glasgow and went to:

Carlton George Hotel

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Windows Restaurant Afternoon Tea

Location **** We were in the windows restaurant which overlooks Glasgow City Centre. Will be so nice in Summer.

Service **** Our server, Maria, was lovely, very cheerful and asked if we had any allergies / dislikes and i asked for a green tea which i was told no problem.

Sandwiches ***** I really enjoyed these, the bread was fresh and nice and soft, the fillings were delicious. There was cheese savoury, ham and tomato, tuna mayo and egg mayo. So yummy.

Scones *** More points if they were warm, but they weren’t. We had a little pot of Tiptree Raspberry Jam each, which is a bonus as you don’t always get Raspberry, its usually Strawberry which i’m not keen on. There was fresh cream and not clotted cream, which was also disappointing! It always has to be clotted with a scone, in my opinion. How do you take your scones, i do cream then jam (the Devon way) my sister does jam then cream (the Cornish way) Controversial, i know.

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Tiptree Raspberry Jam, i love the quotes in the lid.

Desserts / Cakes *** They were ok. The brownie if i was scoring it on this alone would be 5* as it was so good. But i wasn’t keen on the rest of the desserts, there was a teeny lemon tart didn’t taste very lemony to me, a sticky toffee pudding, not my fave i don’t like toffee really, victoria sponge, which was a little dense, it was nice but a little hard.

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Dessert Selection

Tea / Coffee **** I asked for green tea and i got it, my sister asked for coffee and she got it. Both came in a large insulated flask jugs so you could just keep pouring unlimited drinks for yourself and it kept the drinks piping hot too. I kinda want one of these for myself.

All in all for our first Afternoon Tea of the year it was good. It always seems to be the cake selection that’ bit hit or miss. These weren’t horrible just not all to my liking.

Overall all i’d give this Afternoon Tea 4 out 5 stars.

Not bad i’d say, here’s to the next one!

Dirty burgers and fancy teas.

Friday

Had quite the busy weekend.

On Friday me and the BF took ourselves off to Glasgow (after work, so unlike us) for a impromptu date night.

I had read about Smashburger a few months before and how they were opening a new restaurant in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.

We tried to go last Sunday (when i had my small huff and took myself off to Largs because the trains weren’t running) but couldn’t so we made a point of going on Friday.

Wasn’t sure what the deal was, did you go in order and sit down or did someone serve you? But you wait to be seated then go up to the counter and order and they bring it to you. We were lucky for a Friday night it was pretty dead, which i quite like as you’re not struggling to hear over everyone else.

I got a Beef avocado club and tater tots! Tater tots must be the best potato based food, ever, i could eat them all day every day.

The verdict, i quite enjoyed it, was rather expensive, for 2 burgers, 2 sides and 2 drinks -was £28, (bit like Five Guys that way) but it was still nice and let me tell you i refilled that unlimited drink offer a few times with cherry coke to get my moneysworth lol.

 

Afterwards we took a walk through the centre of Glasgow towards Royal Exchange Square to see the twinkling lights, twinkly lights just make anything pretty.

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Royal Exchange Square

Now this photo is wonky because i was waiting until a group of these loud and obnoxious boys walked by so they wouldn’t be in my pic, but then they started shouting “aw get that photo” “have to take a photo” and i immediately felt stupid and just snapped a quick a pic as i could. Little dickheads.

All in all a lovely night in Glasgow but it was baltic!

Saturday

I haven’t seen my sister since New Years day when she came to visit when i was full of the flu and crying because i couldn’t make the dinner they always have every year. It’s cool its rescheduled for March!

We love an Afternoon Tea and this was our first one of the year at the Carlton George Hotel in Glasgow.

Such a lovely hotel and we had the tea in the Windows Restaurant which gives rooftop view of Glasgow.

I think i’m going to do a little ranking of afternoon teas this year and give you my honest opinion on them. Yes that’s a future blog post!

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Carlton George Afternoon Tea

All in all it was yummy, sandwiches were great, scones were great, desserts hmmm not the best, the brownie was to die for though! You get a rooftop setting which would be great in sunny weather, but it was cloudy and overcast hence my dark pic!

And my new life motto was inside the lid of the teeny pot of Tiptree jam:

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Tiptree Jam Quote

“Eat well, love life”

Yes i think i will.

Let’s talk about … cookies!

Cookies, i love ’em, chocolate chip, double choc chip, triple choc chip, chocolate orange doesn’t matter what they are i will eat them.

Below is my fave cookie recipe it’s my goto and you can be adventurous with the fillings you put in them, you could put mars bar, snickers (which im trying next, still trying to get rid of the christmas sweets!) bounty, those little Kinder choc bars, Peanut butter cups, anything at all.

You will need:-

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200g chocolate chips (if you do candy bars i would chop them up)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4
  2. Cream butter and sugars, once creamed, combine in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Sift in the flour and salt, then the chocolate chips.
  4. Roll into walnut size balls
  5. Place on ungreased baking paper, then bake for just 7 minutes, till the cookies are just setting – the cookies will be really doughy and delicious. Otherwise cook for 10 minutes until just golden round the edges.
  6. Take out of the oven and leave to harden for a minute before transferring to a wire cooling rack

I tend to bake them until they look cracked on the surface, which is perfect for me!

Cookies

I got this recipe from the Good Food website years ago and i have never looked back since.

Another cookie recipe i have tried is You Tuber Tanya Burr’s. Now these ones are rather indulgent, they require a work out to get the doughmixed but i would say they are worth it because they are very nice! You couldn’t eat a lot, but they are tasty!

You will need:

  • 200g butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • a little dash of milk
  • a large bar of milk chocolate
  • a large bar of white chocolate

Method:

  1. Put your oven to  200 degrees.
  2. Cream together your butter and sugar.
  3. Crack in your egg
  4. Stir in all the dry ingredients.
  5. Add a dash of milk if your mixture is looking dry
  6. Break up all of your chocolate and throw it in, using your hands to get it into the dough (this required a lot of effort!)
  7. Line 2 trays with baking paper
  8. Pick up a 10 small handfuls of cookie dough and place them onto your trays, spread them out evenly, or bake in batches as i did as they spread quite a bit!
  9. Pop them into the oven for 11 minutes

I may have eaten one or two possibly 2 minutes out of the oven, i love warm cookies as i think this is the best way to eat them! Even after they’ve gone cold i stick them in the microwave to warm them up to eat them!

TB cookies

Whats your favourite cookies? I’d love to know!

 

 

Secret adventures in Scotland.

I tend to start my weekend with a nice breakfast i think it sets me up nicely for the day, i don’t like heavy breakfasts, like fry ups, don’t get me wrong i indulge in the odd full Scottish breakfast every now and again and then immediately regret it.

My fave go to breakfast is Avocado on sourdough toast, roasted vine tomatoes and soft boiled eggs, with a balsamic glaze drizzled over. Its just the tastiest, satisfying breakfast for me. I haven’t had it in a while so this weekend i had it and it was delicious i love it so much.

1.

After this we went and did our usual Sunday shop for the week, which i now hate doing, i used to love going shopping for food but right now its a constant battle of what do we want to eat for the week and then arguing in the aisle when we can’t think of anything. I hate it with a passion.

We were supposed to go to Glasgow after this but Scotrail have decided to put buses on at the weekend due to “planned maintenance” so that put a spanner in the works. I did go in a slight huff about this and i wanted to go out and do something, so i took myself off to Largs, sans boyfriend as he didn’t want to come and said i was a loser for going myself, ahh love.

It was a beautiful sunny day and i just wanted to go a walk and get some fresh air to improve my mood. Now Largs is a seaside town, it has fish and chips, a famous ice cream parlour (Nardini’s) and little shops. It was mobbed and for 3 pm it was still mobbed but i found a parking space and off i went a toddle along the seafront. The water was so calm and the sun was beginning to set and this is my favourite kind of day.

The ferry was going back and forth to Millport on the isle of Cumbrae, which i’ve still never been too, people find this weird, i find this weird, i used to live not far and yet my family never went.

There was people just stolling up and down the promenade with their families and their dogs, so many dogs! Saw a wee Frenchie and a Spaniel, nearly grabbed them and made a run for it!

It was so nice just to park myself on a bench and take in the sunshine and the view.

4.

On the way back i popped into Costa to try a new a coconut milk hot chocolate, it was cold but that drink was bloody roasting. It was ok, id probably stick to my usual Soya hot choc, it seemed thicker.

On my way home i stopped in at Seamill to watch the sunset, its my favourite place to go and its my secret happy place. I love my country and i love how pretty it is.

I’m very fortunate to live in such a picturesque place, the west of Scotland is just beautiful.

 

First cupcakes of 2018!

As you all know at Christmas time we tend to splurge on things and one of those things is sweets. You always end up with tubs of Quality Street, Roses and Celebrations. I don’t know about you but when you go oh ill have one they never seem that appealing and they just get left.

To try and deal with the surplus of sweeties i made some cupcakes and incorporated our leftover Celebrations into them. I needed 24, and let me tell you it doesn’t even look like i’ve made a dent in the tub. I’m going to be baking for weeks to get rid of them!

I just used a basic chocolate cupcake recipe:

  • 150g softened unsalted butter or baking spread ( i used the spread)
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 170g self raising flour

For the buttercream

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 150g butter

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. add the eggs and flour to make the batter.

I just put a small dollop on the bottom of each cupcake case and plopped a celebration on top of each one and topped it with more batter. The only Celebrations i didn’t use were Twix because of the the biscuit and Bounty (cos lets be real, who likes Bountys? Cue line of people telling me Bountys are great lol).

Baked for 18 minutes at 170c and leave to cool.

The buttercream is my favourite part of a cupcake and i especially like chocolate buttercream, so much so that when i’ve iced the cupcakes and there’s some left i eat it out the piping bag lol.

Once the icing is made and you’ve topped the cupcakes i just plonked a Celebration on top i kept it all mixed up so what was inside the cake didn’t correspond to the chocolate on top.

I think they turned out pretty good. I didn’t get one my boyfriend took them to work but i’m told they were nice, not as nice as the salted caramel ones i made, never happy they boys, never happy. I think that’s a hint for me to make them again.

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If you don’t like cakes, look away now!

I thought i would share with you lovely lot a few of my previous bakes.

Paul bday cake

First up is this triple layer chocolate birthday cake i made for my BF 30th Birthday in November. As you can see it’s far from perfect but i’m actually quite proud of it as i’ve never done anything so big. In hindsight i should’ve got some better tools to square off the cake more and made more buttercream BUT i was chuffed and so was he!

Next up we have some bakes i’ve made for birthdays and nursery classes.

On the left is just your basic chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and some chocolate buttons, and a crunchie cupcake with a chocolate sponge and a honey buttercream with some yummy Crunchie on top (*Disclaimer* if you don’t eat these right away the Crunchie goes soft which annoyed me as i never thought about it) These were for one of my BF workmates GF birthday.

On the right is jammy dodger and vanilla cupcakes with a hidden strawberry jam centre and Funfetti cupcakes with lots of multicoloured sprinkles inside. These were for a nursery class before their teacher left for a new job.

Next we have a salted caramel millionaires shortbread.

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I always find these difficult as if i make the shortbread directly in the pan its hard to get out, if i grease the pan and put parchment paper down the shortbread sticks to the paper, so i can’t win! unless im doing it wrong? Any tips, anyone? Help me please!

Last up we have Creme Egg Cupcakes!

Creme egg cupcakes

These are your basic chocolate sponge with a mini creme egg hidden in the centre. I tried to do orange and white buttercream but my piping bag ended up bursting open and merging the colours together so that was a bust but they were still yummy! Actually since it’ll be Easter soon it’ll soon be time to make these again!

I really need to get back into baking, i would really like to make it a career one day but i’m scared i’m just not good enough. I’ve been told to apply for Bake Off but i just couldn’t because:

  • Couldn’t handle the pressure
  • Don’t think i know enough about baking to do the technical challenge
  • I’d collapse under Paul Hollywoods icy glare if he didn’t like what i’d made
  • Don’t ever want to disappoint (Queen) Mary Berry, ever!

Let me know what you’ve been baking recently, inspire me please!