Archive | February, 2012

Choosing the Perfect Wedding Cake…

27 Feb

The wedding cake, a major part of every marital celebration, pardon the metaphor but its the icing on the cake! It has to be perfect, big, small, commercial or personalised, it has to represent you, your relationship, your wedding! Here is how to choose your perfect cake!

1. When it comes to the style of your cake, take inspiration from your colour scheme, flowers, wedding venue and even details on your wedding dress. I love jewellery inspired cakes.

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2. A good wedding cake designer will ask for as much detail of your big day as possible to come up with some suitable ideas. (sorry if you think I’m being nosey ;))

3. Look for a cake designer who specialises in the style of cake you’re looking for.

4. When choosing your cake designer, ask to see examples of cakes they have already made and be sure to have a taste(I do tasting session at times convenient for you, after work and weekends) – it’s important that a cake tastes as good as it looks!

5. When it comes to the cake filling, while fruit cake is the traditional choice, there are many other options such as carrot cake, lemon cake, and, of course, chocolate. Some bakers including me give you the option of having a different flavour for each tier!

6. Consider having a cake that’s slightly bigger than you need. That way, you can save a slice for guests unable to attend, or just a slice for yourself after the big day 😉

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7. As an alternative to the traditional tiered cake, consider having cupcakes, miniature cakes, or even a macarons tower! This way you can have loads of different flavours too.

8. Always ask the cake designer whether they will transport and arrange the cake at your venue. This is extremely important, as tiered caked need to be properly assembled at the location.

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9. Be sure to cater for guests with allergies, or specific dietary requirements, you could have a small cake (perhaps a cupcake or even a cookie) created especially for them. Alternatively, you need to let guests with allergies know they should avoid the cake.

10. Consider serving your cake in the evening, or instead of pudding. Serving it with ice cream, chocolate sauce, or a fruit coulis is also a great idea, plus it means no wastage or double dessert costs!

Whatever you do, just make sure you love your cake! And make sure you actually save yourself a giant slice 🙂 for more information just drop me an email at spoonycake@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you almost instantly!

Look forward to hearing from you…

Keep it delicious!

Ice-Cream Sauces

26 Feb

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The suns shining and summer seems to be coming towards us at full speed! Not long till we hear the ringing of ice-cream vans and screaming children, can’t wait that long? Well here are a few ice-cream sauce recipes to make that scoop of vanilla into a decadent dessert for all to enjoy!

Butterscotch Sauce (my favourite!):
What you need:
1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup golden syrup
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup double cream

What you do:
1) In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the light brown sugar, butter, and syrup to a boil.
2) Boil for 3 minutes or until smooth, stirring occasionally.
3) Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and cream.
4) The sauce will thicken as it cools. If you are going to enjoy the sauce a little later, reheat in the over for 1 minute.

Chocolate Sauce:

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What you need:
2 1/4 granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract

What you do:
1) Place all the dry ingredients in a saucepan, along with 1/2 cup of the milk and whisk to combine into a thick paste.
2) Add the remaining milk, whilst bring the mixture to a boil. Whisk to combine well.
3) When sauce boils, reduce heat to low and simmer very gently for 5 minutes, whisking often, to stop it getting lumpy.
4) Remove from heat, add vanilla, and cool.

For extra indulgence add a nice glug of orange liquor and chocolate orange sauce, perfect on chocolate ice-cream!

Berry Wine Ice-Cream Sauce:

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What you need:
1/4 cup fresh strawberries (chopped)
A handful of fresh blueberries (chopped)
A handful of fresh raspberries (chopped)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
juice from 1/2 of a lemon

What you do:
1) On a medium heat melt the sugar and water together, once dissolved add in the fruit and stir.
2) Add in the lemon juice, zest and wine, and leave to simmer.
3) Stir regularly and allow the sauce to thicken.
4) Store in air tight container, before serving reheat in the microwave!

Gorgeous! Each one if these recipes can be stored and enjoyed days after they have been made, just refrigerate and re-heat! Perfect addition to any dessert especially a beautiful scoop of vanilla! Add sprinkles, chocolate grating and zest for extra deliciousness!

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Keep it delicious!

Scones

25 Feb

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Everyone loves a classic English tea time, scones, clotted cream, jam and a raised pinky finger makes for the perfect afternoon. Scones are an easy recipe and I think everyone should try it! Forget paying loads for afternoon tea at the Dorchester, just have your own little get together!

What you need:
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
30g caster sugar
55g butter
55g raisins or sultanas
150ml milk

What you do:
1) Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2) Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture reaches a breadcrumb like consistency.
3) Stir in the raisins or sultanas.
4) Slowly add the milk until you have a firm dough.
5) Turn out onto a floured work surface. Pat the dough into a circle about 15mm thick and cut out the scones, using a scalloped edged cutter.
6) Place onto a non-stick baking sheet and brush the tops with milk.
7) Bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve with butter, or jam and cream.

How easy was that?! Send us in your afternoon tea photos 🙂 and enjoy!

Keep it delicious!

Easy Dark Chocolate Tart

23 Feb

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We all know dark chocolate is the healthiest option plus its so much more chocolaty, that melting in your mouth sensation followed by a sip of your coffee is always a winning combinations. Here’s how to make an easy chocolate tart, no baking, not cooking…only 10 minutes and you’ll have yourself a pool of chocolate resting in a heavenly ginger crust, it is almost impossible to keep yourself from cutting a cheeky slice before your guests arrive 😉

What you need:
200g good quality ginger biscuits
100g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
200g good quality dark chocolate (green and blacks!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp icing sugar
200ml whipping cream

What you do:
1) Crush up the ginger biscuits using a refrigerator bag and a rolling pin, do not over crush. Melt the butter and the syrup in the microwave for 1 minute.
2) In a bowl mix together the butter and biscuits. Press onto the base and up the sides of a 8″ tart tin.
3) Break up the dark chocolate and put in a large bowl. Melt in the microwave for 2-3 min, stirring halfway through. One melted stir in the vanilla extract, then sift in the icing sugar.
4) Whip the cream until it just holds its shape, then fold into the melted chocolate. Pour into the prepared tin, shake until the top is smooth.
5) Refrigerate for at least 2hours
6) enjoy with freshly ground coffee!

One of the most perfect deserts, if dark chocolate is too much for you then use half milk chocolate and half dark :), if serving then dusting with icing sugar and raspberries!

Keep it delicious!

Crêpe Suzzette

22 Feb

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Left over stale crêpes don’t have to go to waste, put a special adult twist to it and you will have yourself a gorgeous French classic!

What you need:
Left over crêpes
75 g caster sugar
50 g unsalted butter
150 ml orange juice
1 lemon, juice only
splashes Cointreau
icing sugar, for dusting

What you do:
1) Set up the none-stick frying pan on a high heat. Add in the caster sugar and as it starts to caramelise add the butter, stir well and pour in the orange juice and bring up to boil.

2) Skim the top with a cold spoon, then add the lemon juice. Reduce the syrup a little, than add a generous splash of Cointreau.

3) Add one pancake at a time to the pan, flipping and folding. Remove the pancake and fold in half again on a plate. Repeat with the remaining pancakes. Line them up in a flameproof dish.

4) Now for the flambéing: add a generous splash of Cointreau to the pan, and tip into the gas flame to ignite or carefully light with a match if you have an electric cooker. Pour the flaming Cointreau over the pancakes, dust with icing sugar and lemon and orange zest.

Delicious crêpes that will have you eyes wide and mouth watering! Perfect showpiece during a dinner party too! Give it a go!

Keep it delicious!

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Pancake Toppings

20 Feb

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1 day to go and it’s time to prepare, bowls at the ready and so we can have some DIY pancake fun! So excited, how do you like yours? Here are a few topping suggesstions which always go down beautifully with kids and adults.

– sugar & lemon or orange juice
– cooked mixed berries/fruit compote

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– chopped apricots with low fat yoghurt
– canned fruits such as pineapple or apricot

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– jam & coconut
– jam and squirty cream
– maple syrup

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– chocolate spread & chopped nuts
– apple, cinnamon & raisin
– mashed banana & honey
– ice cream & chocolate sauce
– honey & raisins
– chocolate spread & banana

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– fruit & ice cream

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– strawberries & whipped cream
– chocolate spread & mini marshmallows

Mmm, it is going to be an amazing shrove Tuesday! Get the kids involved, get messy, and have fun!

Keep it delicious!

Crêpes – the upmarket pancake

19 Feb

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Crêpes are everywhere, walking down Oxford street and all you can smell is the delicious aroma of melted Nutella, waffles or crêpes…unsurprisingly the smell gets my mouthwatering in an instant…want to make that magic happen in the comfort of your own home?…it is easy! Here’s how:

What you need:
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
225ml semi skimmed milk
1 egg

What you do:
1) Combine all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
2) Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the milk and egg. Beat well to combine.
3) Heat a lightly oiled, non stick frying pan over medium high heat.
4) Using a ladle, pour the crêpe batter into the pan.
5) Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
6) Cook the crêpe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen the edges with a fish-slice, flip over and cook the other side.
7) Serve hot with your filling of choice.

Easy as that!! I used to make these all the time and I prefer them much more to the traditional American pancake, it’s lighter, more delicious, and can also be used with savoury dishes(minus the sugar). I like mine with whipped cream and strawberries…how do you like yours?

Keep it delicious!