What’s In The Box? Shaun the Sheep Mini Marshmallow Cake Kit Review

It’s been a while since I’ve used a cake kit, but I couldn’t resist trying these cute ‘Shaun the Sheep’ marshmallow cupcakes!

Brand: Green’s (Product Details)
Makes: 12 Cupcakes
What You Get: Cardboard Background, Vanilla Cake Mix, Vanilla Icing Mix, Marshmallows, Waferettes, Cupcake Cases
What You Need: 1 Medium Egg, Cold Water

First pre-heat your oven to 185°C (160°C for a fan oven) and arrange the 12 cupcake cases on a baking tray. Then whisk the vanilla cake mix, egg and 35ml of cold water together for 2 minutes until you have a smooth mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases in equal amounts and bake in the centre of your oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Once the cakes are cool, mix the Vanilla Icing powder with 10ml* of cold water until it forms a spreadable paste. Cover the top of each cupcake with the icing and sprinkle marshmallows over the top. Then add a waferette to each cupcake using some icing to secure it.

*I found I needed to use about 30ml to make my icing spreadable enough. Make sure you add the extra water very gradually… you don’t want to make it too runny!

Finally cut out the picture from the back of the box to make your background and you’re all done!

These cakes were quick and easy to make, tasted lovely and the sponge was nice and fluffy. The kit came with more than enough marshmallows to cover the cakes (I had about half a bag left over) but the cardboard background was far too small to really add anything to the cake display. Overall I would give this kit 4/5

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What’s In The Box? Pumpkin Cake Kit Review

The other day I spotted this particular cake mix whilst I was doing the weekly shop and decided to give it a go. I love all the seasonal themed bakes you can make at this time of year, and whilst they never quite turn out as intended when I attempt them, I can never resist trying it for myself.

As this is a ready-made cake kit, I’ve decided to do more of a review rather than a recipe for people to follow, so you get an idea of what to expect before you buy one.

Brand: Tesco (Product Details)
Makes: 1 Cake
What You Get: Cardboard Background, Plastic Basin, Chocolate Cake Mix, Orange Flavoured Icing Mix, Orange Sugar Paste & Black Writing Icing
What You Need: 1 Medium Egg, Vegetable Oil, Milk, Butter & Icing Sugar

First you empty the sachet of chocolate cake mix into a mixing bowl, add the egg, 50ml vegetable oil and 50ml milk. Mix the ingredients well for 2 minutes. Then measure 10ml vegetable oil into the plastic basin provided and use a pastry brush to thoroughly coat the inside of the basin and lid. Leave any excess oil inside the basin.

Next pour the chocolate mixture into the basin, place the lid loosely on top (don’t clip it down) and cook in the microwave for 3 – 4 minutes depending on the power of your microwave. Let the basin stand for 1 minute before removing the lid. Tip the basin upside down onto a flat surface covered with baking paper and lift it off from the sponge.

Once the sponge has cooled, cut the cake horizontally so you have a top and bottom. Then empty the orange icing mix into a bowl, add 50g butter and 5ml milk. Mix the ingredients well until you have a smooth paste. Use a pallet knife to spread a layer of icing onto the bottom half of the cake and then put the top back on. Then use the remaining icing to completely cover the outside of the cake. Remove the sugar paste from the packet and kneed it until soft. Dust a flat surface with icing sugar and roll out the paste until you have a circle large enough to cover the cake.

Cover the cake with the orange sugar paste and smooth it over. Trim any excess from the base of the cake and using the back of a knife, mark vertical lines around the cake to create a pumpkin design. Then use the black writing icing to draw the eyes, nose and mouth. Finally assemble the cardboard background to place your cake on.

So there you have it, one chocolate orange pumpkin cake! This was the first time I’ve ever baked a cake in a microwave and I have to admit I wasn’t overwhelmed with the results. Mine decided to explode a bit as you can see, and personally I think leaving the excess oil in the basin made the sponge too greasy my liking… you may have better luck than me however! I would avoid microwave kits in the future if I possible, but it was still fun to bake and I’m quite pleased with the end result… overall I would give it 3/5.

Christmas Cake Recipe

My mum is a whizz in the kitchen (unlike myself who is generally a disaster when it comes to anything more complicated than a cupcake) and every year she makes a Christmas cake… each time with a slightly different recipe. This year we tried the following:

  • 1kg Mixed Dried Fruit & Glacé Cherries
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Orange
  • 150ml Sherry
  • 250g Butter
  • 200g Brown Sugar
  • 175g Plain Flour
  • 100g Ground Almond
  • 100g Flaked Almonds
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Large Eggs

First pre-heat the oven to 150°C and cut out two sheets of baking paper to double line your cake tin. Then cut out two layers of newspaper to wrap around the outside of the tin and secure with string to prevent the cake from burning.

Zest and juice the orange and lemon, measure out the dried fruit, cherries, sherry, butter, sugar and almonds and add to a large pan. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes and leave to cool.

Once the mixture is cool, measure out the flour, baking powder, mixed spice, cloves and vanilla extract and eggs. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture evenly into the cake tin and bake for 2 hours.

Leave the cake to cool and then wrap in tin foil and place in an airtight container. Every fortnight, unwrap and feed the cake with 2 tbsp of sherry until you are ready to ice it.

Rock Cake Recipe

The other day, I REALLY wanted some Rock Cakes. My grandma used to make wonderful ones, but sadly I never got around to asking her for the recipe. So I went in search for the recipe online.

I had no idea there were so many different variations! It’s impossible to know which one she followed, so I took my favourite ingredients from several that I found and went with that.

As usual my “Kitchen Experiment” gave me some interesting results. The first batch were far too sticky, the second batch I forgot to set the timer and ended up with a pile of incinerated blobs (whooops) and the third were too runny! I decided to try one last time before giving up… thankfully this time it worked!

The recipe I used in the end was as follows:

  • 225g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 75g Butter
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 115g Currents
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 tbsp Milk

First pre-heat the oven to 200°C and cut out a sheet of baking paper to fit your baking tray.

Measure out the flour and baking powder, add to a bowl and then add the butter. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour as much as possible until it looks like breadcrumbs.

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Next measure out the sugar, currents and mixed spice and add them to the flour mixture. Then break the egg into a separate bowl and whisk thoroughly. Add the milk to the egg and pour into the flour and current mixture.

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Using a spoon, mix all the ingredients together to create a stiff dough. Divide the dough into several heaps onto the baking try, ensuring they are spaced well apart.

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Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

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Writing this has made me want to make some more, hopefully with less disasters this time! If anyone has a different recipe for rock cakes, please do let me know, I’d love to try it!

Not the gumdrop buttons!

Before I start rambling on about gingerbread, cake and more gingerbread (seriously there’s a lot of gingerbread in this post) I want to congratulate my best friend Michelle and her fiancé. They welcomed their beautiful baby girl into the world on Saturday. I’m so happy for them and I wish them all the luck and love in the world for the future!

With less than week to go until Christmas, I’ve been busy making and baking all sorts of gifts and ornaments for people (which sadly I can’t put on here as they’re a surprise) whilst watching the fabulous Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas.

First up was this fantastic glitter jelly from Hartley’s which you can buy in strawberry or raspberry flavour. I’m a fan of anything that involves glitter (much to the despair of my other half) so when I spotted it in ASDA I just had to give it a try. I’ve not tried the raspberry one yet, but the strawberry one was delicious.

Then I made some of my own gingerbread men, which were pretty nice but not gingery enough for me… I must dig out the old Ormskirk gingerbread recipe I have in a folder somewhere, nothing compares to it!

Speaking of Ormskirk gingerbread, I was absolutely thrilled when I found out I could purchase a figurine from the Ormskirk Community Partnership. It’s a perfect reminder of my home town and never fails to make me smile! You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.

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Also on the gingerbread theme, I made this little guy from a felt kit. I’m still undecided as to whether or not I want to give him away, just look at his little face! Looks like I’m going to have to make another one…

I had a lot of fun making these melted snowmen cupcakes, I was a bit wary when I first started because icing and I usually don’t get on (so many cakes have ended in disaster once icing has been introduced) but I think this time I might have cracked it!

My final bake for this week was a batch of scones, which wasn’t festive, but very enjoyable (both to make and eat) regardless. I’m looking forward to trying out more advanced recipes in the new year and hopefully increasing my confidence, especially with savoury dishes.

Despite spending all of my free time working on various mini projects, I took time out to see Simply Red on Friday and Duran Duran on Saturday. As usual with my favourite artists, no one will do anything for ages and then all go on tour at the same time! It was an exhausting weekend but I loved every second of every song.

Simply Red: Big Love Tour

Duran Duran: Paper Gods Tour

I’m off to pack my suitcase and everyone’s presents for Christmas with my family, I can’t wait! If I don’t manage to update before January, I hope everyone has a lovely holiday and great New Year x

Pumpkin Pies, Advent Calendars and other Christmas Crafts

December is here, which means I’ve been busy baking gingerbread cupcakes, cross-stitching Christmas cards, working on a wooden Christmas tree and making a dark chocolate Advent Calendar (which you can find out how to make here) among other things!

Another thing I attempted was pumpkin pie which I’ve always wanted to try, so mum and I decided to have a go at the recipe. We had to convert most of the measurements and use a little bit of guess work, but we ended up with a really nice pie at the end of it. The ingredients we used were:

  • 1 x 8 inch sweet pastry case
  • 2 x eggs
  • 1 x can of pumpkin purée
  • 170g of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 pint evaporated milk

First, Pre-heat your oven and mix the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves together in a bowl.

In another bowl, beat your eggs and stir in the pumpkin purée and then add in the mixed spices.

Gradually add in the evaporated milk, continue to stir until all of the ingredients have been fully mixed together, then pour the mixture into the pastry case.

Bake the pie at 220°C for 15 minutes and then lower to 175°C and bake for a further 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife in the centre comes out clean.

Leave the pie to cool and then refrigerate until required. Serve the pie with whipped cream.

Latest Makes and Bakes

I’ve been trying a few new things with my baking and crafting recently, most of which I am pleased to say have been a success.

The other day I made some orange flavoured Halloween cupcakes and used a piping bag for the first time (instead of my usual method of using a spoon and hoping for the best) and I was really pleased with how enjoyable it was to do and how the icing turned out. I’m definitely going to have to invest in a piping set now!

I had a go at 3D Cross stitch for the first time and made a hedgehog pin cushion… It was a bit trickier than I was expecting but I got there in the end, after a few :

I also successfully baked a lemon cake using our awfully unpredictable oven (the turney button things are a lie) and it was very yummy indeed. I may attempt something more challenging than cupcakes and sponge cake in the near future… I just need to practice a little more first.

I made this Christmas dove ornament for our tree this year. It will be our first Christmas together in our own place, so I wanted to make a keepsake to mark the occasion:

Finally, I found my Clippy tote bag which I’ve spent ages looking for! I love the Clippy range, it’s such a simple idea but you can do so much with it and the various accessories you can buy means you can change it to suit pretty much any look. I decided to give mine a Bond makeover for my upcoming 007 adventure in London:

Well, I best get started on my next project…

So much to do, so little time to do it…

Hello again! It looks like this will be yet another summary post as I’ve been rushed off my feet again and my free time is now spent volunteering for the British Heart Foundation which is a very important charity to me, and I really enjoy helping out in our local store.

♥ I’m sad to see yet another chapter in the Harry Potter world come to an end, as Pottermore announced they are going to “move beyond the gates of Hogwarts” and change the site as we know it. I have loved exploring every single moment/chapter of Harry’s story and Hogwarts, and I shall miss it terribly. If you’re a member, don’t forget to download your personalised certificate by the 16th September!

♥ David and I visited the National Media Museum in Bradford, and I definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area. There are loads of things to see and plenty of interactive sections (including a floor of old arcade and console games, which you can play) and best of all entry is free!

♥ We have also been to the Bradford Classic Car Show, Passion for Power Classic Motor Show, Ormskirk MotorFest and The Oulton Park Gold Cup, all of which were entirely different styles of car show, but all equally entertaining (although I will always have a soft spot for the MotorFest because it’s my hometown).

♥ It was Bailey’s first birthday on the 21st August and I can’t believe how much he’s grown already! Naturally he was spoilt rotten by us and had a lovely mini birthday cake and his favourite food for dinner.

♥ I’ve put my Lilac Fairy on hold for now, as I just don’t have enough to time to sit down and concentrate on it at the moment. Instead I’ve been working on smaller projects, such as this monogram pendant and chocolate cupcakes:

♥ Wedding planning is picking up speed now, even though we’ve done a lot, there’s still SO much more to sort out! I would be completely lost if it wasn’t for Weddingspot, which has been fantastically helpful so far. I’m also very excited for my next dress fitting with Kirsty at the end of the month!

♥ I’m loving the latest products from Lush at the moment, especially The Experimenter (which is an explosion of rainbow colours) and Pink Flamingo, which smells divine. Skydancer is also gorgeous, and it’s for a good cause too!

♥ Finally, we went to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. the other week, which was pure brilliance:

Caramel Cupcakes

Well, it’s later in the week so I decided to make those cupcakes I mentioned!

This time I attempted some caramel cupcakes with chocolate chip sprinkles. The cupcake itself was perfect, but the icing… well, it didn’t turn out quite the way I was hoping.

Caramel Cupcake

Still, they tasted very nice and that’s the important thing. I’ll just have to keep practising until I master the art of icing… and hope that I don’t create anything that’s quite as nightmare inducing as some of cakes seen on the hilarious website Cake Wrecks in the future!

Cookie, Cookie, Cookie

It’s been quite a while since I baked something, so today I decided to make some mini chocolate chip cookie bites.

I’m really pleased with how they turned out, and I’m guessing so was everyone else as the cookies barely had time to cool down before they were devoured!

I think I might try some cupcakes later in the week…