Saturday, 20 October 2012

Lemon cheesecake cupcakes

I made my most delicious concoction to date yesterday. It was the combination of a few different ideas that came together beautifully for the school social last night. I was very pleased!

I based the cakes on some I had made a few months ago. I changed the icing and based the biscuit part on the topping from these cakes.


For the cakes:
8.5oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz soya margarine
3 eggs
grated rind of 2 lemons

lemon curd

For the cheese topping:
3/4 tub of mascarpone cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

For the biscuit topping:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I was kindly sent some graham crackers from Canada, but you can use digestive biscuits for this part - they are close enough in flavour)
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted


Make up the cake mix, adding a little milk if necessary to give a soft consistency, it should drop off the spoon into the cake cases with just a little help. Set out 16 cupcake cases and place a heaped teaspoon of mix in each case. Top each one with about 1/3 tsp of lemon curd, then cover with another heaped tsp of cake mix, making sure the lemon curd is covered completely. This method should use up all the cake mix.

In a separate bowl, mix the biscuit topping ingredients together to make a crumble. Tip this out onto a baking tray and place in the oven with the cakes. Keep an eye on it to avoid it browning too much, it benefits form a stir during cooking to ensure it cooks evenly.
Bake at 180c for around 14 minutes until the cakes are starting to brown on top, remove the topping from the oven after about 10 minutes.

Allow the topping and cakes to cool in their tins, then place the cakes on a wire rack to ensure they cool fully before putting the toppings on.

Make up the mascarpone cheese topping by mixing the 4 ingredients until you get a smooth creamy consistency. When the cakes are cool, spread a tsp of the mascarpone on each of the cakes.

As close as possible to serving the cakes (I did this 4 hours before, and they stayed crunchy) sprinkle a tsp of the biscuit topping on each cake.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Quick smoked haddock lunch

My favourite dish in the world is served at a local pub. Smoked haddock with mustard mash and a poached egg on top. Unfortunately, my husband does not eat fish, so I don't tend to cook fish at home. I can, however, cook fish for my lunch, and that is what I did today. I created a quick lunch version of my smoked haddock, and it looked and tasted really great. So great, in fact, I thought I would take a picture and share it.

I am not a fan of the whole photographs of my restaurant meal thing that seems to be happening on social media, but when I have cooked something I love, I do want to share it. So here it is.

I poached the haddock in milk with a knob of butter and poached an egg separately. I put a couple of handfuls of baby spinach on the plate the laid the hot haddock on top with a drizzle of the milk (which started to wilt the spinach rather nicely). I then put the poached egg on top and finished it off with mustard salad dressing and a bit of black pepper. 

The mustard salad dressing bottle is in the background and it is also a favourite of mine. It's sold in the local farm shop and absolutely delicious.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Fabulous new cupcake recipe

A few days after making vanilla cupcakes from the Hummingbird book, I realised that the recipe didn't convert so well to dairy-free. The cakes were nice when really fresh, but did not keep well - they went heavy and a bit soggy. I thought that maybe something halfway between my 5:4:4:2 sponge recipe and the Hummingbird recipe might be a good idea.

So (very scientifically), I wrote both recipes out side by side, added the ingredients together and then halved the result to give a 2 egg recipe:


8oz self raising flour
3.5oz soya margarine
7oz caster sugar
120ml sweetened soya milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract


Cream the margarine and sugar together.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the milk and mix.
Add the flour and the egg/milk to the sugar/margarine and mix well.
Fill cupcake cases about half full with the mix and bake at 180c for about 12 minutes.
Makes around 16 cupcakes but would make about 24 fairy cakes.

The cakes rise well, do not have greasy cake cases and the cases do not peel away from the sides. These went down a storm at the school cake sale, children really don't notice that they are eating dairy-free and that makes me very happy. It also means that Charlotte can join in with the others without having to worry about her allergy.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Hummingbird cakes

Today, I had promised Charlotte that I would make chocolate cupcakes with her. A friend of mine made some lovely chocolate cupcakes for the Macmillan coffee morning the other week, and when I asked her, she said the recipe was from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. I have that book, so Charlotte and I dipped in and found the recipe - yippee! Also, Emma was loitering and looking over our shoulders, so I agreed to make a batch of vanilla cupcakes with her too.

The sponge was much less fine textured and moist than my normal sponge recipe, which meant that the cases didn't peel away from the sides of the sponge for once, which was fantastic. Also, as the recipe uses a lot less margarine and milk instead (soya, obviously, for us) there were no ugly oily marks bleeding through the cake cases. These people know what they are doing!

Anyway, Charlotte did all the measuring and mixing and filling of cake cases herself for the first time. She also iced them with the icing that I made. Emma made hers with a little interference from mummy, but iced them herself. I tried half filling some cases and then dolloping a 1/2 tsp of lemon curd in, then topping up with mix. I haven't tried one of these yet, but they smell delicious.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Denise's lemon cake

My friend's mum, Denise, gave me a lemon cake recipe a few years ago, but I don't often make it - I have no idea why, it is delicious. I guess I always forget to buy lemons, and then when I get the time to bake I can't make it. Anyway, my mother-in-law brought me back some lemons from her tree in Cyprus and it was the perfect opportunity to make a lemon cake as there is no danger of pesticides or wax on the skins.


4oz soya margarine
6oz caster sugar
grated rind of 2 lemons
2 eggs
6oz self raising flour
A little milk (I use soya)


Cream together the margarine and sugar.
Add the lemon rind and eggs and mix well.
Sift in the flour and fold into the mix.
Add a little milk to soften the batter.
Pour into a lined 2lb loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes at 180c.

Make a syrup using the juice of the 2 lemons and 2oz caster sugar.
When the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool a little, then make lots of holes in the top with a skewer and pour the syrup slowly all over and allow it to soak in.
I boiled up the syrup for a few minutes to thicken it, as I find that it then runs off more slowly, allowing it to soak in before it runs down the sides.