Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cheesecake Birthday Brownies (I'm now 15!!!!)

I was going to post something last weekend but I went camping and when I got back I really didn't feel up for anything but...It was my birthday on Monday! So now my banner is truthful as I am now 15! I'll also have tweak my about me...

 I had a great birthday and I got some awesome presents, including Gok Wan's cookbook, grow your own gourmet mushrooms, the great British sewing book, a chocolate and zucchini cake and another rubber duck to add to my great collection by the side of my bath (currently 42).
 Since my birthday was on a school day (my friend made me walk around with a sash and helium balloon all day, not to mention 5 bags!)I thought I would bake a tray bake for us all to have at dinner time and this is what I made!

These are my second batch because the first one got eaten so quickly! They're super rich but also super good, and I mean suuuuper good. Probably not good for you but I really couldn't care less when they taste like a unicorn's having a gallop inside my mouth. The brownie park is slightly bitter but the topping is sweet making it into a perfect harmony!
 The actual recipe was suppose to have walnuts in the place on white chocolate and another layer of 50 grams in between the topping and brownie but since some of my friends aren't too keen on nuts I substituted them, feel free to change it back though! 

Cheesecake Birthday Brownies    (makes 16-20 pieces) Adapted from the divine cookbook 'most incredibly rich brownies'


  • 100 grams of dark chocolate (the more cocoa solids the better)
  • 200 grams of unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 400 grams of caster sugar
  • 250 Grams of plain flour
  • 3 table spoons of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Cheesecake layer
  • 100 grams of unsalted butter
  • 200 grams of cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 200 grams of icing sugar
  • 50 grams of chopped white chocolate

  1. preheat the oven to 170oC/ 325oF/ gas mark 3. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to a heat proof boil with the cubed butter. Set over a pan of simmering water until melted, leave to cool while you make the brownie batter.
  2. grease and line a 20 x 25 cm tin. Whisk the eggs until combined, add in the sugar and whisk until pale and thick before sifting the flour cocoa and bicarb. Fold gently, the mixture will be quite dry up to now
  3. Add in the melted butter and chocolate along with the vanilla, mix until combined and pour into the tin 
  4. to make the sweet cheesecake topping beat the butter, cheese and vanilla in a bowl until smooth, add in the egg and mix then sift in the icing sugar and mix until creamy 
  5. pour the topping over the brownie mixture and add the chopped white chocolate, put in the oven for 50 minutes until the top is golden
  6. leave to cool in the tin before slicing and enjoying!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Ultimate Banoffee Cupcakes and Toffee Sauce

 Two little facts about me:

  1. Something I love to eat is mashed green banana on crumpets, I have it for breakfast before school
  2. Something I hate to eat, over ripe bananas, uuurgh, they're just too sweet

But Another thing I love is getting those icky over ripe bananas and baking something even more delicious than bananas on crumpets! 

Last night I went on a school trip to see the horror production 'The woman in black' in the Lowry at Solford, Manchester, you might have seen the film last year staring Harry Potter of course! And I can safely say it was absolutely brilliantly done and pretty scary too, There were only two actors in the whole thing and 'the woman in black' which might sound boring but it made twice as scary...I should probably get back to the cupcakes....
So while we were on the coaches going to the play I sat next to my extremely, unbelievably weird friend who.....who....... who doesn't like banana! Or nuts..... or sausages..... Why am I friends with her? Only joking Anna (;

I could eat a whole banoffe pie for breakfast everyday, it might not be good for my health (in fact I probably wouldn't make it to my sixteenth birthday) but I could so do it. The banana and toffee combo is just beautiful and I would like to take this moment to thank Ian Dowing the creator of the pie (according to wikipedia anyway).  So I hope you enjoy making these cupcakes and the best toffee sauce recipe I've ever found (short, sweet and simple). 

p.s. I hope you like banana!

Ultimate Toffee Sauce

Heat 100 grams of dark brown sugar, 60 grams of butter and 250 millilitres of double cream (heavy cream) in a heavy based saucepan until the butter has melted and the sauce begun to boil. Take off the heat and leave to cool while you make the cake batter.

Ultimate Banoffee Cupcakes (makes 12)

  • 80 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 100 grams of soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • 1 ripe mashed banana
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ultimate toffee sauce (see above)
  • 150 grams of self raising flour
  • 1 banana sliced (or banana chips)
  • 200 ml of double cream (heavy cream)
  • Toffee sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/gas mark 4 and line a cupcake tin with cases
  2. beat together the sugar and butter until light and smooth before adding in the milk, egg, banana and sauce and beating again
  3. gently fold in the flour and divide the mix between the cases. Bake for 15- 20 minute, they should be golden and spring back when pressed. Leave to cool of a wire rack.
  4. For decoration, whip the cream until it begins to thicken and spread on the top of each of the cooled cakes, add a slice of banana (if you don't intend to eat them soon use banana chops of cover the fresh slices with lemon juice) Drizzle over the toffee sauce and thoroughly indulge yourself in the beauty that is banoffee! 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

DIY lip scrub (and tin)

Well these past few days it's been positively hot in Cumbria. That's right, I just used 'hot and 'Cumbria in the same sentence. What is going on with the world? Anyway with this hot weather I thought my lips might stop getting chapped. Wrong. My lips can chap really badly so I get through so many Vaseline tins, luckily I came up with an idea to up cycle them and help my chapped lip catastrophe!

up cycled Vaseline tin

  • a Vaseline tin
  • paint (I used acrylic because it sticks to the tin better)
  • felt tip pens
  • other decoration (eg GLITTER!!!)
  • nail varnish remover
  1. wash your tin and paint it with your chosen colour, but don't paint the part of the tin under the lid, otherwise it's really hard to get the lid on and off.
  2. once dry write your lip scrub title on and decorate with paint, felt tips and any other decorations
  3. once dry neaten up any edges or the part under the lid with nail varnish remover
DIY lip scrub

I used orange essence for my lip scrub but this can be quite an obscure essence to get hold of so you can use any essence or even use coconut or any nut butter instead. I think it's nice to be creative with the titles too, so if you use vanilla call it creme brulee, rose could be English garden and almond could be frangipane!

With all the warm weather (it got to almost 20oC today, I found it hard not to change into a swim suit!) I thought it would be a great chance to start experimenting with my new DSLR too. Here are just a couple of the photos I took in that garden which I thought looked quite pretty, thanks for reading!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Seeded bagels with smoked salmon

 Firstly, I was going to blog last weekend but on Saturday I made a red tractor cake for my 5 year old cousins birthday (photo on my instagram) which took all day and by the time I'd finished I really wasn't in a baking mood. Even I have to admit that was too much a fair bit of cake!

Secondly, I wanted to blog earlier in this week after I planned to buy a second hand cannon 400D but then decided on a cannon 1100D. I then had to wait for the order as I wasn't prepared to use my digital camera again, it has been driving me insane with automatic zoom! But then on Wednesday night a girl in my year was hit by a mini bus and died later in hospital which really threw everything up. My whole year, even the school, became suddenly aware of just how precious our lives are and how little we have lived in the scheme of things, how lucky we really are. She was a truly beautiful 14 year old girl and (as cheesy as it sounds) I never did see her not smiling or chatting excitedly. The whole school was thrown into mourning and shock as a person was torn out of our community over night, my friend sums it up beautifully in this post. Today there was well over 200 people meeting in the local park to let off Chinese lanterns in her memory and to tell memories they had of her. Thank you for reading my post and blog, I wish you good luck in bagel baking and R.I.P Beth <3 

Seeded Bagels

(makes 10)

  • 500 grams of bread flour 
  • 7 gram sachet of fast action dried yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 300 ml of luke warm water
  • 1 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 50 grams of mixed seed (I used poppy and sesame seeds)

  1. mix the flour salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl, make a well in the centre
  2. in a separate bowl mix the water, honey, oil and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms
  3. tip onto a floured work top and knead for 5- 10 mins until in feels smooth. It shouldn't become stretchy because bagel dough is a firm dough, but not dry
  4. once kneaded put into a lightly oiled bowl to rise for an hour (until doubled)
  5. once risen knock the air out and shape into 10 equal balls of dough. roll each ball into a sausage and then seal the ends together with some water and put onto a oiled baking sheet to rise for another half an hour
  6. towards the end of the rise set the oven to preheat 200oC/ 400oF/ gas mark 6 and bring a big pan of water to the boil with the remaining tablespoon of sugar
  7. 2 or 3 at a time drop the bagels into the water to poach, 1 minute on each side then remove with a fish slice to help drain the water and place on a baking sheet
  8. add the egg glaze to the top of each bagel before sprinkling with the seeds and baking for 15-20 minutes
  9. put on a colling rack or enjoy hot with cream cheese, smoked salmon and watercress

These bagels are really completely different to the shop bought ones, they're not even comparable! These are really light but still chewy but still with that shiny skin. They'll freeze really well too and make a much lighter breakfast, lunch (or brunch!) than the shop bought ones.