I love this time of year, you can keep your warm sunny days filled with sandy beaches and ice cream cones. I love those freezing cold days, with skies so dark it feels like dusk at noon, torrential rain and thunderstorms, days to snuggle up on the sofa in fluffy socks drinking hot chocolate and reading Fall and Christmas magazines from years gone by.
I love the flavours of Fall, toffee, apple, maple, cinnamon, pear and pumpkin. I love the beautiful bakes and heartwarming dinners and I especially love that it's Halloween, bonfire night, my birthday and Christmas all in a short three months!
Fall has finally fallen and I couldn't be happier. As well as preparing for Halloween, I am already in full Christmas mode, with a whole new range of Christmas characters, cakes and cupcakes that I can't wait to show you. It is taking everything I've got not to post anything Christmassy until after Halloween!
These beautiful Fall cupcakes are dusted with gold lustre dust and topped with pretty autumnal sugar leaves. The delicate leaves are also dusted with lustre dust, using a range of beautiful autumnal shades.
Not only are these cupcakes perfect for any fall celebration but they also make a beautiful and stylish choice for decorating Thanksgiving cupcakes.
I love biscotti and what is better than biscotti...?
Adorable mini biscotti of course!
This recipe is super simple and can be adapted in so many different ways. Omit the apricot and add chopped pistachios and dried cranberries instead, or up the orange zest and add dark chocolate chips. I also think dried blueberries and white chocolate chips would be gorgeous. You can pretty much add any dry ingredients, so go crazy.
This biscotti recipe makes beautifully crisp, crumbly biscotti, the biscotti crumbles as soon as you bite the cookie, so no rock hard, break your teeth biscotti here.
I always bake loads of biscotti at Christmas and give them to people in big glass jars, biscotti will keep for up to one month, so it makes a fantastic gift.
Apricot & Almond Biscotti
115g unsalted butter, room temperature
75g vanilla sugar (or caster sugar), plus extra for rolling
95g light brown sugar
zest of half an orange
2 large eggs
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
75g ground almonds
75g dried apricot, chopped
Preheat your oven to 190C (375F).
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric until creamy. Gradually add both sugars beating continuously until fully combined. Add the orange zest and beat to combine.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds. Add to the butter mixture, beating at a low speed just until blended. Fold in the dried chopped apricots.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with vanilla sugar (or caster sugar). Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll each portion into a log around 1.5 inches wide and 1 inch high.
Place all three logs onto a large, lightly greased baking tray, leaving space for the logs to expand.
Bake the logs for around 20 minutes or until they feel firm and dry.
Remove the biscotti logs from the oven and cut each log on a slight diagonal into slices.
Place the biscotti slices onto a clean, ungreased baking tray and bake for around 4 minutes; turn all the biscotti over and bake for another 4 minutes. The biscotti should feel totally dry in the centre but not completely hard, the cookies will firm up once cool.
Remove the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.
These Chocolate Brownie Cookies were just a little experiment really but they were so delicious, I knew I had to post them.
The moist, chewy, chocolatey, fudgy cookies are studded with not only milk chocolate chunks but also glorious chunks of gooey chocolate brownie. Yes...gooey chocolate brownie!
The brownie chunks create intensely chocolatey, moist cakey pockets of yum. I have honestly never had a more chocolatey cookie.
If you are baking brownies under-baked brownie will work best for these cookies, the gooey-er the better. You can freeze the under-baked brownie before cubing it, this way the cubes will retain their shape when folded into the mixture but still be gooey, moist and amazing once baked.
Chocolate Brownie Cookies
625g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
25g milk powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
450g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g caster sugar
250g light brown sugar
75ml liquid glucose
5 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
100g milk chocolate, grated
300g under-baked chocolate brownie, cubed
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Line 3 cookie sheets with baking paper and set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, milk powder, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a free standing mixer or using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the liquid glucose and beat for a further minute.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
Fold in the flour mixture, followed by the chocolate chunks and grated chocolate. Very gently fold in the chocolate brownie cubes.
Roll the dough into balls and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking.
Bake the cookies for 10-15.
Allow the cookies to cool on their sheets before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
I think these might just be the coolest cake decorations I have ever made!
I must admit I haven't even seen Star Wars (I know, it's a travesty!) but I will have to watch the movies very soon because I have fallen head over heels in love with Yoda! Yes Yoda...
That little face is just the sweetest face of all time!
When you look at the dark side, careful you must be ... for the dark side looks back. - Yoda
Yoda is so wise!
I made these decorations as a special order and my client absolutely loved them.
With home baking going from strength to strength I am receiving more orders for decorations and toppers than ever before.
As you can see, these Star Wars Lego Characters are very highly detailed and I have to say they were not simple to make. Each one stands at just 2.5 inches tall and as always I wanted to include as much detail as possible.
Apart from Yoda, who is just perfect in my eyes, I also love the Stormtrooper's guns and the variations between each Stormtrooper. Darth Vader's billowing cape and scary face are pretty awesome too, I can almost hear his breath....
This delicious Vanilla and Caramel Cake is so simple to make but tastes like a total show stopper.
The cake consists of beautifully fluffy, vanilla bean flavoured layers of sponge cake, smothered in smooth and creamy, dulce de leche buttercream.
I would love to do a tutorial on this lovely petal piping technique, it's really easy and looks so beautiful but is difficult to explain without pictures, so I haven't included instructions in this post. I will try my very best to put a tutorial together as soon as possible though.
Vanilla & Caramel Layer Cake
For the Cake:
275g plain flour
50g corn flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
300g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste
2x 23cm cake tins, buttered and floured
For the Dulce de leche Buttercream:
300g unsalted butter, room temperature
225g icing sugar
150g dulce de leche, store bought or homemade
To Make the Cake:
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Sift together the flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, around 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy, around 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With your mixer on a low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients in 3 batches and the milk in two. Add the vanilla along with the last portion of milk.
Once all of the ingredient have been added, scrape down the bowl and beat the batter once more just until smooth, around 5 seconds.
Divide the batter among the prepared cake tins and smooth the top with a rubber spatula and drop the pans lightly on the counter to expel any air bubbles.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, around 30 minutes.
Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for around 20 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
To Make the Dulce de Leche Buttercream:
In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, around 1 minute. Add the icing sugar and milk and beat until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes.
Add the dulce de leche and beat until fully incorporated.
Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand or cake plate and spread with buttercream, top with the second layer of cake and spread buttercream across the top and sides.
This was actually my very first fondant Gorilla so he was really fun to create, the most difficult part was making his little hands and feet, I had to have a few goes but I'm glad I persevered because the hands and feet add so much character.
I'll be back with another post really soon, I've got lots of yummy recipes coming up including a glorious layer cake and chocolate brownie cookies.