White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

The lovely folks at Baking Mad recently asked me to try out one of their gorgeous recipes, a Victoria Sponge Cake recipe. However this is no ordinary Victoria sponge with layers of white chocolate sponge, white chocolate and vanilla ganache plus raspberry jam it really is a showstopper cake. Ideally, I would have decorated my cake with raspberries too but having run out of them I thought strawberries would work equally well.

Of course, this is not an everyday cake but one I would make for a special occasion like a birthday as it tastes so rich and indulgent. My girls were completely wowed by the finished cake and somewhat chuffed that they were getting the chance to eat it. White chocolate, vanilla and raspberry are beautiful flavours that work well together making this Victoria sponge cake utterly delicious.

White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

The recipe uses Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste, an ingredient that I’ve never used before as I’ve always stuck to using their pure vanilla extract. The vanilla bean paste actually contains the vanilla pods whereas the extract doesn’t. I really liked the Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste (it smells incredible!), it’s most certainly an ingredient I’ll use much more in my baking.

White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

So, if you fancy having a go at making this delectable cake you can find the recipe and lots more baking recipes and ideas for everyday and special holidays such as Easter and Christmas on the Baking Mad website.

Until next time, happy baking.

Julie
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Disclosure: I have not been paid or sponsored to write this blog post. Baking Mad sent me some ingredients to try out one of their recipes. All opinions are honest and my own.

Death by Chocolate Cake

Chocolate birthday cake

Death by Chocolate Cake is a super indulgent chocolate cake recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. The name itself is enough to suggest that this is one seriously chocolately cake and I have to agree. I decided that this chocolate cake would make the perfect birthday cake for my daughter’s 10th birthday. The chocolate sponge is incredibly moist but would benefit from a bit more cocoa powder or maybe a little less golden syrup. However, the chocolate icing is amazing and the recipe is so easy I would definitely make it again but would tweak it slightly. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen the cake in the making.

Chocolate birthday cake

Maybe I was mad but to celebrate my daughter’s big day I organised roller skating followed by pizza for her and her friends. What a crazy afternoon that was! I was completely shattered afterwards but my birthday girl had a fabulous time and loved her chocolatey birthday cake too.

Chocolate birthday cake

Until next time.

Julie
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Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Last year I baked these extremely chocolatey and utterly delicious Easter bird nest inspired cupcakes, with the Easter holidays not far away I wanted to share them with you again (just in case you missed them!). The cupcakes bases are a moist chocolate sponge, topped with chocolate buttercream and a layer of flaked chocolate to resemble a nest then finally finished off with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. Chocolate and more chocolate, what’s not to like about these Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes?

Don’t be put off by the length of this recipe, it is actually relatively quick as the sponge cupcakes are made using the all in one method.

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsExtremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Chocolate sponge cupcakes

160g unsalted butter (very soft)
160g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
130g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder
2 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate Buttercream

100g dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids)
100g unsalted butter (very soft)
200g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tablespoon milk

Decoration

1 bag of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
8 small or 4 regular size Cadbury’s Flakes
Creme Eggs and little furry chicks not compulsory but totally cute

Method

1. Pre heat your oven to 160c Fan (180c)

2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.

3. Put all the cupcake ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat well until the all the mixture is fully combined.

4. Using two dessert spoons, spoon the cake mixture into the cases and bake for 25 minutes until springy to touch.

5. Leave the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the buttercream begin by melting the chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave until fully melted, then allow to cool.

7. In a mixing bowl beat the butter and icing sugar together, then add the melted chocolate and beat again, then finally beat in the milk.

8. In a bowl crumble the flakes.

9. Using a palette knife spread each cake one at a time with the chocolate buttercream and then dip the cakes in the chocolate flakes (to create the bird nest effect).

10. Then top with 2 or 3 mini eggs. Enjoy!

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Until next time, happy Easter baking.

Julie
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It’s that time of year again when bloggers go a bit crazy asking for nominations in the Brilliance in Blogging (BiB) awards. Last year Julie’s Family Kitchen was short listed but unfortunately didn’t make the final. So, if you have enjoyed reading my foodie blog I would really really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to nominate for me in the Brilliance in Blogging awards (food category) 2015. Thank you so much and a virtual slice of cake is on its way to you. xxx

Brilliance in Blogging Nomination Form

BritMums
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Eight Seed Wholemeal Soda Bread for St Patrick’s Day

8 seed soda bread

Soda bread is a delicious and easy no knead bread traditionally associated with Irish baking. I make soda bread quite often but like to ring the changes by adding different ingredients. This time I’ve baked a super tasty wholemeal loaf using Seasoned Pioneers Eight Seed Mix, which is a delicious mix of mini seeds including white sesame seeds, brown linseed, black sesame seeds, nigella seeds, chia seeds, blue poppy seeds, white poppy seeds and golden linseed. You can see my original review for Seasoned Pioneers here.

Soda bread is incredibly easy to prepare and requires absolutely no kneading, making it a wonderful bread to bake when time is short.

8 seed soda bread

Eight Seed Wholemeal Soda Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients8 seed soda bread

200g wholemeal plain flour
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
300ml buttermilk
50g eight seed mix (Seasoned Pioneers)
Extra seeds and flour for sprinkling on top

Method

1. Pre heat your oven to Fan 200c and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

2. Put all the dry ingredients including the eight seed mix in a mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Then, make a well in the centre.

3. Pour in the buttermilk and stir the mixture, finally bring the dough together with your hands.

4. On a floured surface shape the dough into a ball and then flatten. Place on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with plain flour.

5. Using a sharp knife cut across the dough vertically and horizontally, forming a cross in the dough. Sprinkle a few extra seeds on top.

6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.

7. Once baked the loaf will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Here’s my step by step recipe photo guide on how to make soda bread.

Soda bread is delicious eaten quite simply spread with butter and a chunk of good mature cheddar cheese. It also makes a hearty accompaniment to a bowl of warm homemade soup.

8 seed soda bread

The eight seed mix is available to buy from Seasoned Pioneers online or in Lakeland stores, alternatively you can substitute the seeds for any combination of seeds you like.

8 seed soda bread

Happy St Patrick’s day.

Julie
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Disclosure: I was sent free samples of Seasoned Pioneers products to review. I have not been sponsored or paid for my review. All opinions are honest and my own. The recipe is my own.

Healthier Carrot Cake (Sugar-Free) and Natvia Review

Healthier Carrot Cake

Is it really possible to make a delicious sugar-free cake? The answer most definitely is YES. I am fully aware of how addictive sugar is and being someone who enjoys cakes, biscuits and chocolate this bothers me a lot. I’m careful as I can be when it comes to feeding my children, I try to make sure they eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Although, I do allow them cake and biscuits in moderation, fizzy drinks are an absolute no no and the drink of choice is water.

So when Natvia contacted me asking me to try out their sugar-free sweetener I was intrigued to say the very least. I’ve never liked the taste of sweeteners so whilst I was researching Natvia it became obvious to me that if the claims that it doesn’t have an unpleasant aftertaste were true, then it was worth trying.

Natvia

Natvia contains no calories and is unlike other sweeteners in that is doesn’t contain any sugar at all. Natvia is a natural sweetener made by combining the best Stevia extract and Erythritol. Natvia can be used in exactly the same quantities as sugar, for example if a recipe asks for 100g of sugar then 100g of Natvia can be substituted.

I decided to bake a carrot cake with the Natvia samples I was sent, not any old ordinary carrot cake but one that was as healthy as I could create without compromising on taste using wholemeal flour and coconut oil. Well, I can honestly say I’m delighted with this deliciously moist carrot cake with its tangy cream cheese frosting. The cake itself is baked well and has a great crumb structure. I really don’t think you can tell that it is sugar-free at all and there is certainly no unpleasant aftertaste.

Healthier Carrot Cake

Healthier Carrot Cake (Sugar-Free)

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsHealthier Carrot Cake

Carrot cake

150g Natvia baking pack
150ml coconut oil
3 large eggs
225g plain wholemeal flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
175g grated carrots
75g sultanas

Cream cheese frosting

125g Natvia icing mix
125g full fat soft cheese (I used Philadelphia)
zest of ½ orange
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c Fan.

2. Grease and line the bottom of a 23cm (9 inch) round spring form cake tin.

3. Melt the coconut oil by putting it in a bowl in the pre heating oven for a few minutes, then set aside to cool. To make the cake put all the cake ingredients in a bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined.

4. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, until springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean.

5. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the tin and allow to cool fully on a cooling rack.

6. Make the cream cheese frosting by mixing the remaining ingredients well for a few minutes, then spread on top on the cake. Enjoy!

Healthier Carrot Cake

Healthier Carrot Cake

I was sceptical about trying Natvia but I guess my curiosity got the better of me. If you are looking a sugar free alternative sweetener then it is a good substitute.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I was sent free samples of Natvia baking pack and Natvia icing mix. I have not been sponsored or paid for my review. All opinions are honest and my own. The recipe is my own.

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Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Oh my, these luscious lemony cookies filled with apricot chunks and white chocolate chips are absolutely dreamy. Soft and very slightly chewy, they’re crammed full of delicious and tantalising flavours that make these cookies a real joy to eat. I definitely recommend serving the Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies with a pot of your favourite tea for a delightful afternoon tea treat.

If you’re thinking of baking something for mum this coming Mother’s day then these delightful cookies would make a wonderful edible gift.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsApricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g caster sugar
100g white chocolate chips
50g dried apricots (chopped in 5mm pieces)
zest of 2 small lemons
225g plain flour

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Mix in the white chocolate chips, dried apricot pieces and lemon zest.

3. Add the flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 16 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Smooth the edges of the cookies with your hands if they are cracked.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, the cookies will be pale gold when cooked. Don’t over bake as they will lose their soft texture.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Happy baking.

Julie
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I’ve linked up this recipe to #CookBlogShare with Supergolden Bakes.

#CookBlogShare

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Valentine’s Day Shortbread Biscuits

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and sometimes it can be tricky to find that perfect gift for your loved one. These Valentine’s Day Shortbread Biscuit recipes from my blog archives are ideal if you want to spoil them with a home baked gift. Buttery and light these shortbread biscuits are sure to melt anyones heart.

Cherry Shortbread Hearts

Cherry Shortbread Hearts Julie's Family Kitchen

Chocolate Drizzle Shortbread Hearts

chocolate shortbread Julie's Family Kitchen

Happy baking and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Julie
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Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

Sometimes only tea and cake will do, you know when it’s been one of those days when things haven’t quite gone your way. This delightful Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake is the perfect antidote with a pot of tea. Whilst being big on flavours with a moist coconut sponge with a jammy coconut topping, it really is very simple to make. So pull up a chair and enjoy some tea and cake.

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

The cake is made using the all in one method, so it really is just a case of throwing it all in the mixing bowl and beating it for a minute or two. Then to make life even easier, which I always do is to use a non stick loaf tin liner from Lakeland. That way there’s no faffing with greasing the tin and cutting out baking parchment.

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 1hr 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsCoconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

Cake
225g self raising flour
175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
75g dried sweetened coconut*
3 large eggs

Topping
4 tablespoons raspberry conserve or jam
40g dried sweetened coconut*

*I used Sweet & Tender Coconut by Sainsbury’s found in the baking aisle

Method

1. Pre heat your oven to 160c Fan.

2. Line a 2lb loaf tin with a cake tin liner or grease and line with baking parchment.

3. Place all the cake ingredients in a mixer and mix until well combined (about 2 minutes).

4. Spoon the mixture in the lined tin and bake for 1 hour. Check to see if it’s done, if not cover with foil and bake for a further 15 minutes.

5. Once baked allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

6. When the cake is cold spread the raspberry conserve on the top then scatter over the dried sweetened coconut. Enjoy with a cup of tea!

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

Coconut and Raspberry Jam Loaf Cake

I’d love to know if you try out the recipe. If you do, you can tweet me a picture at @Juliemcpher or alternatively leave me a comment below.

Happy baking.

Julie
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Football Game Birthday Cake

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

My little boy recently celebrated his third birthday and I baked him his very own football game birthday cake. Ever since his big sister started playing football (she’s now in the school girls team) he too has become something of a football fan. Unfortunately, presenting the cake and singing happy birthday didn’t quite go according to plan. Tears were flowing and my little boy was very distressed, he didn’t like the lights going out when the candles were lit and then he didn’t want the cake to be cut! However, he did enjoy eating the cake and happily chomped his way through his slice.

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

Football Game Birthday Cake

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 2hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients and equipment

2 basic all in one sponge traybake cakes 30 x 23cm (I used Mary Berry’s recipe from her Baking Bible)
1 jar of seedless raspberry jam
Vanilla buttercream (made using 500g icing sugar, 250g unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract beaten together)
750g Renshaw ready to roll lincoln green fondant icing / sugarpaste
100g white fondant icing / sugarpaste
40 x 35cm cake board
PME football / soccer cake topper set (9 pieces)
Football themed ribbon

Method

1. Sandwich the two traybake sponge layers together with vanilla buttercream and jam.

2. Cover the whole cake with a base layer of buttercream and allow to set.

3. Apply a final layer of buttercream all over.

4. Roll out the green fondant icing to a thickness of 5mm so that it is large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake.

5. Carefully lift the green fondant icing and place on top of the cake and smooth down around the sides, ensuring that there are no air bubbles. Trim away any excess icing with a knife.

6. Using the white fondant icing roll out very thin and long sausage shapes, these will form the football pitch lines. Fix into position with by moistening the pitch with a little water, then flatten in place.

7. Decorate the football pitch with the players, referee and goal posts.

8. Finally attach the ribbon around the cake base.

You should be able to find all the ingredients and equipment in a good cake decorating shop or alternatively online.

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

Until next time, happy baking.

Julie
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Snowflake Christmas Cake and Happy Christmas

Snowflake Christmas Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

It’s certainly been a busy week for me getting things ready for Christmas. In between all the hectic preparations we managed to squeeze in a fantastic family weekend break at Center Parcs. It really was a fun packed couple of days, involving roller skating, pottery painting, an elf hunt, fencing and swimming to name a few of the activities we all got up to.

Although a little later than usual I finally finished decorating my Christmas cake this afternoon. Being a bit short of time I opted for a simple and effective snowflake design, I hope all my Christmas guests like it.

Snowflake Christmas Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

Snowflake Christmas Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

Before I go, I want to wish you and your families all a very Happy Christmas.

Until next time.

Julie
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