Red Velvet Cupcakes

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I recently attended the christening of a gorgeous little boy and the guests all received a beautiful jungle-themed cupcake after the service. They had fantastic sugar paste animals on top, but underneath was the tried-and-true red velvet cupcake. Which got me thinking how much I fancied baking a batch myself. After all, who doesn’t love red a velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting?

I used Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her book Kitchen. The media can say what they will about Nigella – personally I couldn’t care less what she gets up to at home. I love her because she is genuinely, passionately obsessed with food … and I know just how that feels!

Here are some shots of the colourful cakes in the making – don’t you just love the colour of that batter? (The selfie of me and the kid is to prove that I baked these beauties one-handed while holding a screaming baby. Just be glad it’s not a video – this one has got a great pair of lungs on her).

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So here it is – the red velvet cupcake. An oldie but a goodie!

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Make it!

Red velvet cupcake recipe from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson.

Cream cheese frosting recipe  from The Hummingbird Bakery Cupcakes & Muffins Book.

Red sugar strands to decorate.

Welsh Cakes and Bara Brith

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I once had the good fortune to live in the beautiful land of Wales for five years. I love the stunning scenery and the Welsh accent, and I have some great memories (and friends!) from that time in my life. So I can’t let the day of their patron saint  – St David – pass without baking some classic Welsh fare: Welsh cakes and bara brith.

Welsh cakes are easy to make – and even easier to eat. Warm, with butter melting on top … I dare anyone to eat just ONE Welsh cake!

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Bara brith is a tea bread – and I love tea breads! They smell amazing when they’re baking, and they’re tasty warm or cold.

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So have a wonderful day, wherever you are, and kisses to all my Welsh mates!

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Make it!

Welsh cake recipes from Delia Smith.

Bara brith recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book.

American Pancakes

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Every year of my life I have celebrated Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras) and I’ve always had French-style crepes for tea. So this year, I thought I’d mix it up and make American pancakes for brunch. Crazy, huh?

So I splashed out on a bottle of maple syrup (don’t ask how much that cost me!) and got myself a pack of smoked bacon. I used a recipe from BBC Good Food for the pancakes. They were light and fluffy, as promised, and so much easier to flip than crepes!

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I also did the bacon in the oven for the first time and it came out wonderfully crispy. It took about 5 minutes on a baking tray lined with parchment at 200C – and no need to turn the rashers over.

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All in all, our first brunch was a resounding success and I think we’ll be repeating the experience in the near future! Happy Pancake Day!

Make it!

Pancake recipe from BBC Good Food.

Serve with maple syrup and crispy bacon.

 

Black Forest Gateau Pots

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Well, this week Mr Chef found mascarpone cheese on offer at the supermarket, so of course he bought more mascarpone cheese than any family has a right to eat. He made a (delicious) cheesecake and I decided to whip up some individual black forest gateau pots.

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I tried a recipe that used grated beetroot for the cake, and it was lovely and moist. I layered it with a mascarpone and double cream mixture, and topped each pot with cherries and grated dark chocolate.

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I made three of these pots, but in fairness the quantities would have done for six smaller ones. I need to remember that not everyone can stomach as much gateau as me at one sitting!

Make it!

Cake recipe for Purple Forest Gateau from The Great British Bake Off: Celebrations (half the quantities).

Cream filling recipe from The Great British Bake Off: Celebrations (full quantities).

Tinned cherries (if fresh not available) and grated dark chocolate.

 

 

Valentine’s Mini Cakes

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Happy Valentine’s Day from Cakes at Midnight! Here are a few shots of some mini chocolate cakes I made last year, covered in sugar paste and decorated with hearts and a cute red bow. They’re the perfect size for sharing with that special someone!

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Make it!

Chocolate sponge cake recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book.

Chocolate butter cream for filling and crumb coat from BBC Food.

Red and white Oh So Sweet sugar paste from Cakes by Samantha.

Cupid’s Cookie Pops

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Hello again! I’m back with some more sweet Valentine’s inspiration for you: Cupid’s Cookie Pops! They’re sugar cookies coated in chocolate, and what’s not to love about that? I made them extra-appetising by decorating half the batch with more chocolate and the other half with sugar strands.

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Needless to say, the ones with sugar strands were my kids’ favourites. (They are excellent for bribery, too, by the way – they tidied their room without a fuss and ate spinach risotto just to get at them!)

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The other half of the batch look slightly more sophisticated. I gave a few as gifts, bagged and tied with a pink ribbon. Most of the rest are inside me!

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Make it!

I’ve spent many a night tinkering with sugar cookie recipes I found online and I’m pleased to share the results with you! To make these cookies, you’ll need a heart-shaped cookie cutter, a rolling pin, some wooden lollipop sticks and baking trays covered with baking parchment.

Click to download the recipe cupids-cookie-pops-recipe.

Little Hearts Cupcakes

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Welcome to Cakes at Midnight! It’s 1st February today, which means Valentine’s Day is only two weeks away – time to start planning which sweet treats you’re going to make for your loved ones! After all, nothing says I love you like homemade cake!

The moment I saw a picture of these cute cupcakes from Deliciously Different on Pinterest, I knew I had to make them. Aren’t they sweet? I mixed it up a bit with some swirly butter cream and sugar paste decorations, too, all in pink and baby blue.

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They’re the perfect Valentine’s gift for any cake-lover or classmates at school or – in my case – a certain wonderful neighbour of mine who has been helping me out with the school run since before Christmas. Love you, Effie!

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Make it!

Inspiration and chocolate cupcake recipe from Deliciously Different.

Vanilla butter cream recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cupcakes & Muffins Book coloured with Sugarflair Paste in Pink and just a little Sugarflair Paste in Royal Blue.

White Oh So Sweet sugar paste from Cakes by Samantha coloured with Sugarflair Paste in Pink and just a little Sugarflair Paste in Royal Blue.

Cupcake cases with dots in Pink from Wilton.

P.S. A special shout-out to Eleanor from the blog Hong Kong Coffee Club for setting me up with a site name and fixing all my technical problems!