Orange Custard Cream Cupcakes

May 23

Orange Custard Cream Cupcakes

Last week for my brother in laws Birthday I was given an open reign on what flavour cake to make.

I always like trying new recipes so I delved into my recipe folder to see what caught my eye.

I settled on a recipe pulled out of a Guardian supplement some time ago for Orange Custard Cream Cupcakes as I was trying to go for  something that wasn’t too sugary / chocolaty for my  1 year old niece to have.  Its an easy to follow recipe and they taste great. The only problem I had was on the custard front, having never made custard from scratch before I failed miserably as the mixture split. Instead of having another go I bought some fresh Madagascan vanilla custard from the supermarket.

I will have another attempt at custard another time !



For the cakes

175g caster sugar

50ml sunflower oil

50g unsalted butter, softened

3 medium eggs

1tsp orange extract

100ml double cream

250g plain flour

2tsp baking powder


For the Icing

225g icing sugar, ideally the fondant sort

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange


For the custard cream

2 egg yolks

3tsp cornflour

2tsp vanilla extract

25g caster sugar



Line the pockets of a muffin tray with muffin papers and heat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan-assisted)

Beat the sugar, oil and butter until light in colour, then beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Add the orange extract and cream, beat well, then add the flour and baking powder, and beat again until smooth. Fill each muffin case about two-thirds full with the mix and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes are neatly domed and golden. Remove and leave to cool.

To make the custard, beat together all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, whisking often, then beat until smooth. Cover and leave until cold, then pipe it with a plain 8mm nozzle deep through the top crust and into the cupcake heart; alternatively scoop out a little of the cake with a small knife, spoon in a little custard and top with just s slice from the cake plug.

Beat the icing sugar, zest and enough juice (probably 25ml) to make a thick icing and drizzle over the top of the cupcakes, thereby covering your tracks. (Alternatively omit the cream filling altogether and just ice the cupcakes as they are.)


My Tips

I only filled the muffin cases just over half and got 18 cakes in total out of the mix.

For the icing I had to use about 50ml orange juice as 25ml was nowhere near enough. You want the mixture to be thick but runny enough to spread itself out on top of the cake when you spoon it on.







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Devilishly Good Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

May 06

Devilishly Good Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

For this weeks Friday bake I decided to try out a recipe from  Gluten-Free Christmas Heaven magazine ( xmas 2015). Its easy to follow recipe that doesn’t take very long to do and it smells great when you take it out of the oven.  I took it along to a BBQ with friends, one of which is a Coeliac and it went down very well. I then had some more the following day heated for 15 seconds in the microwave and served with ice cream, it is just delicious.


  • 1 packet gluten free Orio type biscuits – I used lovemore O’Choco’s
  • 150g gluten free 50-55% dark Choclate ( I used buttons)
  • 175g butter cut into small pieces
  • 3 free range eggs , beaten
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 50g dried berries and cherries



  1. Preheat Oven to 170ºC. Grease a 23cm square cake tin
  2. Break Chocolate into pieces and place into heatproof bowl. Add butter and stand bowl over pan of gently simmering water. Once melted, remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the sugar. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Gradually whisk in the eggs to make a thick and glossy mixture. Sift the cocoa and baking powder on top and add the ground almonds, berries and cherries. Break half of the biscuits into small pieces and carefully stir into the mixture.
  4. Transfer the mixtures into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then break the remaining biscuits in half and add to the top. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until risen and slightly crusty on top – the mixture should be slightly soft underneath. Leave to cool completely in the tin. The brownies can be eaten straight away, but hold better when stored overnight in an airtight container – make sure to wrap in greaseproof paper and then in foil.

To serve cut into squares.

For an extra naughty dessert serve slightly warm with ice cream.

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Not Just any Banana Bread…but Pecan and Chocolate Banana Bread

Apr 29

Not Just any Banana Bread…but Pecan and Chocolate Banana Bread

Not Just any Banana Bread…but Pecan and Chocolate Banana Bread

So after my husband moaning I don’t bake for him, this week I decided just for him I would do one of his favourites, banana bread.

I found a recipe in my ever expanding recipe file that looked good and I thought I would try.

It was taken from My Waitrose Magazine March 2015 Issue and this is the first time I have made it.

The process is very easy one to follow and as you can see the results looked good.

Now for my husbands verdict: LOVELY. He isn’t one for lots of words but the speed with which its disappearing speaks volumes.


100g unsalted butter softened

3 eggs

1 lemin zest and juice of ½ lemon

1tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp mixed spice

225g plain flour

100g light brown muscovado sugar plus 1tbs for sprinkling

350g peeled bananas plus 1 extra sliced to decorate

100g pecan nuts, toasted and chopped

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)chopped into 1cm chunks

1 Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4.

Grease a 900ml loaf tin and line base and sides with baking parchment.

Blend all the ingredients – apart from the extra sugar, sliced banana, pecans and chocolate – in a food processor until evenly mixed. Stir through most of the nuts and chocolate, reserving a handful of each.

2 Spoon the batter into the tin and scatter over the reserved nuts, chocolate and sliced banana, gently pressing into the top.. Sprinkle over 1tbsp brown sugar.

3 Bake for 1 hour 15minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (cover with foil after 45minutes if it browns too quickly). Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool.

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Delicious Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake

Apr 22

Delicious Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake

Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake


Now that I am unemployed I have time to do things that I haven’t had time to do for a while.

High up on my list was to get back to doing some baking.

My love of chocolate and hazelnuts (nutella) and my ongoing search for a cake recipe that brings those flavours together in unison meant I decided I wanted to make a hazelnut sponge.

After browsing a few recipes most of which had either coffee in them (I hate coffee) or had chocolate in the sponge mix which I felt would over power the hazelnut.

Eventually I decide on the following recipe and made the alterations as shown in brackets.

Here is a link to the original recipe I found on google



For the cake

  1. 135g blanched hazelnuts (used shop bought ground hazelnuts)
  2. 200g soft butter
  3. 200g golden caster sugar
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. 100g self raising flour
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 1 tsp vanilla (1tsp hazelnut extract)
  9. 3 tbsp milk (3tbsp hazelnut milk)

For the buttercream filling

  1. 75g soft butter (50g soft butter)
  2. 150g icing sugar (100g icing sugar)
  3. 3 tbsp (level) cocoa powder (4 tbsp nutella)
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (not use)
  5. Upto 1 tbsp milk or Frangelico  (not used)

For the glaze

  1. 30-40 ml water
  2. 40g caster sugar
  3. 2 tbsp golden syrup
  4. 60g dark chocolate chips (green and blacks dark chocolate)


  1. Start by toasting the nuts in a dry frying pan then when a little scorched around the edges, transfer to a food processor and blitz until you achieve the texture of ground almonds – don’t go too far or it will form a paste as the oils come out of the nuts.
  2. Grease and line two deep 8 inch round loose bottomed cake tins.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar for the cake together until very light and fluffy – I give it a good ten minutes in my stand mixer on high.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, turning up to high as the eggs are incorporated to help prevent curdling – add a spoonful of flour if worried as you add them.
  6. Sift over the flour and raising agents then fold in.
  7. Add in the nuts and milk and fold once more – it won’t look like much batter but it rises very well if the recipe is followed as stated. Divide between the prepared tins and bake for 30-35 minutes until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and no crumbs stick to a skewer inserted into the centre.
  8. Cool on a rack and make the glaze to give it time to firm up a little.
  9. Put the water*, caster sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, immediately take off the heat and stir in the chocolate (*= I quite like this runny so use 40 ml water but if you want it more spreadable add only 30ml). Beat until glossy with a spoon and leave to one side.
  10. Make the buttercream by placing everything in a food processor and blitzing until spreadable but still thick – add the liquid slowly.
  11. Sandwich the cakes together with buttercream and once the glaze has thickened to the texture of double cream (which can take half an hour on a hot day) pour straight from the pan in a steady stream in the centre of the cake. Allow drippage down the sides, encouraging by gently tilting the plate or cake stand if like (I do!).
  12. Keeps very well for several days covered with cling film, only put in the fridge if it is very hot.

Here are pictures showing how the cake came together. For decoration I had my first go at doing some sugar work, making some hazelnuts dipped in caramel.


I was very pleased with the end result and couldn’t wait to have a taste.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed, the cake was delicious and went down well with my husband and family.

It is definitely going into my list of favourites, to be made again soon !!!




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Blackberry and Rhubarb crumble

Sep 25

Blackberry and Rhubarb crumble

Autumn is approaching and that means its the one time of year when blackberries are in abundance and free for anyone to pick.

I went for a long walk along our nearby canal towpath and collected a tub full with the intention of making a fruit crumble.

I wanted to use rhubarb with the blackberriess and after looking at a number of recipes I settled with this one

I decided to do the crumble mix in my food processor for the first time as I didn’t fancy getting dirty hands, I was a little unsure how well it would work but was pleasantly suprised at how quick and easy it mixes the ingredients to make a perfect crumble mix. I would definitely recommend it and think the days of using my fingers are well and truly in the past.

The recipe was easy to follow with no stewing of the fruit needed and the resulting crumble was delicious with a lovely crunchy topping, just how I like it.


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Orange and White Chocolate cake

Sep 24

Orange and White Chocolate cake

I love chocolate particularly chocolate cake but I wanted something less rich and heavy to take for adults and children to eat for a gathering of some friends.

I found this recipe and thought it sounded perfect


I followed the recipe and although the cooking temperatures were a little confusing and the cake took only around 20-25 minutes to cook at 180 degrees celcius and it turned out ok.

After icing I decorated the top of the cake with dark chocolate shards to give an informal but stylish finish.

We visited our friends in Dorset and it went down a treat for desert following our team effort of homemade pizza.

The sponge has a strong orange flavour without being overwhelming and the crème fraiche chocolate icing was sweet without being sickly which meant people couldn’t resist going back for more until it was all gone of course

At the end of the day not even a crumb was left behind !


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