26 May 2011

Tea Cup Cupcake Mould Giveaway!

When I was recently contacted by Find me a Gift to try out one of their novelty baking products I jumped at the chance.  You know me, anything a bit out of the ordinary and I'm there with bells on.  Sadly for me, the products they stocked were products I already owned, so I decided to turn my thoughts to you, dear readers.  Aren't I kind?!

I went for these awesome Tea Cup Cupcake Moulds which I originally used in my Cameo Cupcakes post.  They really are super sweet little things, dainty and cute, just like their owner.... I jest, I jest!  
Want to be in with a chance of winning these adorable trinkets well here's how:
  
  • Competition is only open to followers of Katiecakes so make sure you click that follow button, I'll be checking you naughty little mites.
  • Comment on this post telling me your favorite flavour of cupcake.  I'm nebby like that.
  • Link this giveaway via your Twitter account and leave another comment letting me know.
And that's it!  Winners will be announced on Friday June 3rd.

Good luck!

25 May 2011

One girls trash is another girls treasure

I've always loved charity shops!  Since being a little girl I would always act embarrassed when my mum would drag me into Scope to look through the books but there was always a little part of me that was enthralled by all of the nic nacs deemed as junk by their previous owner.  What would make someone give this stuff away I'd think as I would flip through the pages of a tatty Point Horror book.  Since then I've been an avid Charity Shop scourer, unable to walk past the doors of the British Heart Foundation without a quick peek.  As the old saying goes, one girls trash is another girls treasure, or something like that.

Yesterday I had a good old rake through the second hand shops of Durham and thought I'd share my haul with you lovely lot.  I have to say, I'm rather proud of my finds.


This old barometer is possibly my new favorite thing in my home.  Unfortunately it doesn't work, but for 50p I can't really complain.





These silhouettes were discovered nestled in the bottom of a box filled with broken frames.  They weren't priced so the wonderful lady let me take the whole set for £2.50.
 

Another ceramic deer, I couldn't resist.

I got two more suitcases to add to my pile for the measly sum of £15 for the pair. 


And upon opening the smallest case we found this third place prize for a county show.   I'd like to think it's the prize for the third biggest marrow in show.  I love marrows.

20 May 2011

Chocolate Chambord Madeleines

I have a little obsession with my liqueur cabinet.   I'm finding it increasingly difficult to navigate myself past the booze isle in supermarkets without inspecting the array of colourful bottles for unusual spirits.  I often find myself in the alcohol section of Fenwicks partaking in my never ending search for creme de cacao blanc before giving in and buying such divine sounding potions as violet liqueur.  It's got to the point now where I'm looking for any and every excuse to whip these bottles out and put them to good use.  That's where these Chocolate Chambord Madeleines come in.


I defy you to be able to resist having a bottle of Chambord nestled among the bottles of Hendricks and Absolut.  Such a beautiful bottled specimen should be a regular part of your life, get it out, use it, enjoy it!


These madelines are so beautiful, so tasty and so damned naughty!  With just a subtle hint of black raspberry they're just the perfect accompaniment to a night in with the girls and of course, a Chamboard Cosmopolitan.


Chocolate Chambord Madeleines

Ingredients:
80g plain flour , 1 tbsp removed for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
20g ground almonds
2 tbsp cocoa , plus extra for dusting
75g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Chambord Liqueur
90g unsalted butter , melted, plus extra for buttering the tin 
  
Method:
Sift the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and cocoa with a pinch of salt. Butter a 12-hole madeleine tin and dust each hole with a little of this mixture. Whisk the sugar and eggs with electric beaters until thick, pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the flour mix, vanilla, Chambord and butter. Cover the surface of the mix with clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes. 

Heat the oven to 200C, 180C Fan. Fill each cavity with 1 heaped tbsp of mix. Bake for 10 minutes or until risen and springy. Tap the tin to loosen and tip out. Dust with cocoa and serve warm.

6 May 2011

Earl Grey Cupcakes

 
Everyone loves a cup of tea, and those who don't... well I simply don't trust them.  As my fiancee delves deeper into his love of coffee I find myself drinking more exotic and exciting teas in a vain attempt to tempt him away from his espresso machine.  My cupboards are bulging with dozens of different varieties, loose leaf, bags, flowering you name it, I have it!  Even with all of these colourful and tasty teas adorning my shelves I always come back to the same two favorites, a good old cup of builders brew (you can't beat it) and a steaming cup of Earl Grey.


I've made these cupcakes tonnes of times and they never disappoint.  Delicately scented they're the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon curled up with your favorite book and a beautiful cup of their namesakes tea.


Earl Grey Cupcakes
(from Primrose Bakery)

Ingredients:
125 ml milk
4 Earl Grey tea bags (or you could sub with your favorite variety)
110g unsalted butter
225g granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ tsp almond essence (optional)
125g self-rising flour
120g plain flour

Frosting:
115g unsalted butter at room temperature
60 ml semi skimmed milk
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
Few drops of lilac food colouring

Method:
Preheat oven to 180c/ gas mark 4.  Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.  

Heat milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and add teabags. Cover with a lid for about 30 minutes.
Cream butter with sugar in a bowl until the mixture is pale and smooth. I found this took quite a long time because of the quantity of sugar.  Add almond extract and eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Scrape bowl with a spatula to make sure that the mixture is well combined.
Combine the flours in a separate bowl. Add a third of the flour to the butter and sugar mixture and beat well. Pour in a third of the milk/tea mixture and beat. Repeat until all the flour and milk has been added.
Carefully spoon mixture into cupcake cases, filling each one two-thirds full.  Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Test to see if they are cooked. Leave in tins for 10 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool.
To make butter cream, beat butter, milk, vanilla and half the icing sugar until smooth.
Gradually add the rest of icing sugar to produce a creamy and smooth consistency. Add a drop of colouring and beat thoroughly. When cool, ice the cupcakes with a generous swirl and sprinkle with a little extra granulated sugar.

Channel 4 - Best Baking Blogs

If you follow me on Twitter you will be well aware of how I've been feeling the last few days.  When I'm poorly I have an uncontrollable desire to keep the world informed of every ache and pain.  I think I must enjoy the sympathy.  I've been plodding around the house, wrapped in my pink fluffy dressing gown, clutching a cup of tea and box of tissues generally feeling very sorry for my little plight until I checked my emails.  Right there in my inbox was a note from Channel 4 letting me know that I've been chosen as one of their Best Baking Blogs!  How exciting, little old me?!  Here's what they had to say:


For fun:
Oooooh pretty. This is one good looking blog. If you weren't peckish before visiting Katie Cakes, guaranteed you will be afterwards. Geordie cake-lover Katie has packed her site with simple ideas that will transform your baking, and there's some stunning photography too. The result is full-on food porn. Its Katie's wicked sense of humour and eye for funky new products that's got us inspired. Her cameo cupcakes, glitter jam cookies and shortbread wings for tea cups have turned us green with envy.

Thank you so much to Channel 4 for including me! You brightened up an otherwise gloomy day filled with lemsip and coughs!

Check out the other blogs on the list, they'll be sure to make your tummy tingle with delight:

For the Adventurous  - An American Cupcake in London
For Good Advice - Masion Cupcake
For Getting Groovy Groovy - Delicious Delicious Delicious
For A Sure Thing - The Boy Who Bakes
For The Experimental - The Pink Whisk
For Keeping Up Appearances - Amelie's House
For The Gossip - Let Her Bake Cake
For Tips From A Professional
- Coco & Me
For Being Naughty - Evil Shenanigans

4 May 2011

May the fourth be with you!

Now this is going to sound terrible.  Please, try not to judge me I swear, I'll try an rectify this dreadful confession as soon as possible.  Here it goes... I've never seen Star Wars!  Phew, that's a load off.   Coming from someone with a minor degree in Film Studies and a huge adoration of cinema it's a pretty shameful deal.  Especially since most people that know me on a personal level refer to me as Chewie or Wookie (it's an embarrassing story, don't ask).

That being said I love word play almost as much as I love novelty items, so imagine my delight when I discovered these adorable cookie cutters while in America last year.  I may not have seen the films but my nearest and dearest are all huge fans of the franchise so why not make them happy with some delicious May 4th cookies.




 Hope you all had a wonderful day and remember, May the fourth be with you.