25 Oct 2009

Devils Food Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

This weeks SMS was supposed to be a huge layered devils food cake, smothered in peanut butter frosting, but as you can see, I decided to scale down the recipe and make cupcakes instead.


Not only are cupcakes much cuter than a layer cake, but I find a huge cake a lot harder to get rid of than their hand held counterparts. For example:

Me: 'hello mister postman/window cleaner/anybody who happens across my house. Would you like a cupcake?'
House Caller: 'Why yes, that would be lovely, thank you'
Me: *hands over cupcake, smiles and closes the door*

Rather than:

Me: 'Hello mister postman/window cleaner/anybody who happens across my house. Would you like a slice of cake?'
House Caller: 'Why yes, that would be lovely, thank you'
Me: 'How wonderful, let me cut you a slice, hold on, I'll also grab you a plate. Oh, and you'll need a fork too, won't you... and a napkin?'

See the difference?

Anyway, I digress. The cupcakes were awesome, utterly awesome! Saying this, I did use a different frosting recipe to the one Melissa stated in the book as I feel six sticks of butter is a little too close to a heart attack for my liking.

Check out the wonderful Holly of Phe/MOM/enon for the recipe and as always check the SMS ladies for more cakey deliciousness!

18 Oct 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Cookie Cakes

I was a little dubious about this recipe, as was everyone else when I told them I was making a sweet treat containing pumpkin. The general reaction was a furrowing of the brow, curling of the lip and the statement 'remember the pumpkin brownies, Katie? Is that something you really want to recreate?' Although my pumpkin brownies were a total failure I still couldn't leave this one be, I mean Americans do love their pumpkin deserts and millions of people can't be wrong! So, I went in search of canned pumpkin and ended up paying £3.50 in my local food hall. They better be worth it!


Once finished, I brought the cookie cakes into the living room, presenting them as nicely as I possibly could. Slowly, one by one, people approached the cookies and sheepishly took one. Looking at each other they raised them to their lips, closed their eyes and took a tentative nibble. I studied their faces, waiting for a reaction. The nervousness suddenly faded away and was replaced with delight! 'Wow! They're so spicy, can I have another?' Yes, another winner! Thank you Sweet Melissa and thank you Debbie, if it wasn't for you I'd have pushed pumpkin based treats aside, never to attempt again.

Have a lookie at the other SMS girls, Americans do it better ;)

17 Oct 2009

British Food Fortnight!

Don't you love autumn? So chilly yet so sunny, it really is the most wonderful season. The best thing about autumn in my opinion is the food! Pies and stews all served with a steaming pile of buttery mash followed by a crumble swimming in fresh custard. This past month the wonderful Rosy of Rosy Lips and Lavender and I have been emailing back and forth about our love of Autumn when we had an idea, a brilliant idea if I do say so myself. Since we both missed British Food Week we decided to host our very own baking event celebrating good, hearty British food!


Wanna take part? We sure hope you do! The event will run from the 26th October to the 7th of November. Rosy will be hosting the round up for the main meals on the 31st while I will be hosting the deserts on the 7th!

All you have to do to take part is:

All you need to do is cook up a British inspired main meal and a desert using some autumns finest produce!

Blog about your creation during either the main meal or desert week.

Email Rosy @ rosy [at] rosylipsandlavender [dot] com with a link to your main meal post and a small picture of your creation and do the same with me @ katiewantsapony [at] hotmail [dot] com with your desert entry!

Main meals must be in by 29/10/09 and deserts by 6/11/09.

And of course, don't forget to have fun :D

15 Oct 2009

MSC

If you're here looking for this months Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club post I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.

Since this weeks SMS and MSC are both very similar I'm going to combine the two on Sunday. Plus, I'm too cheap to pay £8 for two tins of canned pumpkin from my local food hall ;)

Come back on Sunday, dear reader.

Much love

Katie xox

11 Oct 2009

Cinnabuns, sweet sweet cinnabuns

This weeks Sweet Melissa Sunday was supposed to be Sticky Buns with Toasted Almonds but as I browsed through the recipe I noticed Melissa's cinnamon variation hiding quietly at the end. Cinnamon buns I thought, screw the sticky buns, I'm making those!


Cinnamon is probably my favorite thing in the world, well, favorite thing in the world to eat, I dread to think about the amount of tubs I go through in a year. Sweet, savory, sprinkled on cakes and pancakes, is there anything this beautiful spice can't make better? In a word, no!

My dough turned out rather sticky, much like the brioche bee stings a few month back. Even after the full 15 minutes kneeding the dough still slapped itself all over the mixer. I added 3 heaped tbsp of extra flour which seemed whip it into shape. Also, my first rise took about 3 hours and the second around an hour and a half but even with all the extra waiting these buns won my heart. I baked them up 9am on Sunday morning before a trip to the market and what a wonderful breakfast they provided. Delightful.



Thank you to Jen of Not Microwave Safe for this lovely pick! Perfect for those chilly mornings we all know too well. Check out the SMS girls for more sticky buns!

4 Oct 2009

Pieday

Sorry, no SMS this week ladies! As much as I adore apple crumble I feel it should only be eaten at the end of a hearty meal and I just haven't had the time. Bad Katie!

As my Sunday tradition details, when going to a friends house I must always have some sort of baked good on my person. The odd few times I've turned up at said friends house empty handed the mood instantly dampens and the guilt trips commence. Since the last few trips have been of the empty handed persuasion I felt I should really make it up to my wonderful chums in the shape of a pie. Nothing says I love you like a pie!


What I love about pies is that anything and everything goes. Got some potatoes and cheese that needs using up, make a pie. Some berries threatening to go bad stashed at the bottom of your fridge, make a pie! It really is the ultimate fridge clear out meal.

I happened upon this glorious specimen as I was casually leafing through the latest copy of Delicious Magazine last week at work. I flicked past the page and paused, I had that feeling. You know the one, when you know you're missing out on something good. So, I turned back the page and gasped at the beautiful image I was confronted with. Unfortunately, I was far too eager to play with my new camera to allow the pie a proper cooling period and attacked it while still warm. This resulted in the sloppy filling rather than the perfectly layered rainbow of yumminess in Delicious, but hey, I'm an impatient child at heart.

Butternut Squash, spinach and goat's cheese pie with cheesy pastry

2 large butternut squashes, peeled, de-seeded and cut into thick slices
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ras el hanout (I couldn't find this so I made my own from 1/4 tsp each of all spice, turmeric, mace, paprika, pepper, coriander and cardamon)
Pinch of chilli flakes
2-3 red onions, thinly sliced
4 whole garlic cloves, skins on
1kg baby spinach (I used normal spinach)
250g ricotta
50g pine nuts
200g soft, rindless goat cheese sliced

350g plain flour
50g coarse polenta (I used fine)
150g cold butter, diced
a pinch of salt
60g grated parmesan (I used local strong cheddar)

For the pastry mix the flour, polenta and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub together till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and 5tbsp of cold water (add the water slowly, you may not need it all) till the dough sticks together. Kneed gently until it forms a ball, wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C. Scatter the butternut squash in a large roasting tray and drizzle with half of the olive oil, scatter over the chili flakes, ras el hanout and cumin seeds and season well with salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the sliced onions and garlic cloves to another roasting tray with the rest of the olive oil. Halfway through roasting the squash add the onions to the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the squash and onions from the oven, squeeze out the garlic from the skins and mash the roasted garlic up with the onions.

Place the spinach in a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Refresh with some cold water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Mix with ricotta and season with salt.

On a lightly floured surface roll out 2/3 of the pastry and use it to line a 23cm springform time(I used an 18cm tin and reduced the cooking time to 25 mins). Add half the spinach mixture in a layer, then distribute half of the squash on top of that. Scatter with half of the pine nuts and goat's cheese. Repeat for another layer before adding the garlicky onions on top.

Roll out the rest of the pastry then lay on top of the pie, pushing the edges to seal well. Make a hole in the centre and decorate the top with the left over pastry. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with a handful of parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 - 40 minutes till golden brown on top. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.