Ginger and buttercream Biscuits

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a post but when I stumbled upon this recipe I felt I just had to try it!

In essence there wasn’t really an occasion to bake for but sometimes you just need no reason at all to enjoy the aroma of baking ginger biscuits just for the sheer heck of it.

They’re simple enough for even the most clumsy of bakers and you can make them with your kids. Even the smell of them was enough to make my children ask if they could taste them before dinner – No! – mitts off till after dinner ūüôā

Ginger and buttercream biscuits ‚Äď Makes 20 biscuits

Ingredients

225g Self raising flour

1 level tsp of bicarbonate of soda

2 level tsp groud ginger

1 level tsp of cinnamon

100g of soft brown sugar

125g of butter

100g of golden syrup

 

For the buttercream

100g of butter

200g of icing sugar

2tsp of golden syrup

1tsp of vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas4.
  2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper
  3. Sift together the flour, bicarb, ginger, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl
  4. Heat the butter and golden syrup until warm but not hot.
  5. Add to the flour and sugar mixture and mix to a soft dough
  6. Spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto the trays until you have twenty even sized cookies to cook
  7. Bake for 10 -12 minutes until golden.
  8. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack

 

9. In a food mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar together until fluffy and add the golden syrup and vanilla essence to flavour.

10. Sandwich the biscuits together in twos using the buttercream.

They will be crispy and crunchy even the next day if kept in a lidded container in the fridge.

Eat and enjoy!

 

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Tequila Christmas Cake Recipe ( funny!)

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Every year I get asked for this recipe which has been passed down through our family. I made my Christmas Cake yesterday – enjoy!

Ingredients


How to make it


  • Sample the tequila to check quality.
  • Take a large bowl, check the tequila again.
  • To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.
  • Turn on the electric mixer.
  • Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
  • Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
  • At this point it’s best to make sure the tequila is still OK. Try another cup… just in case.
  • Turn off the mixerer thingy.
  • Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
  • Pick the frigging fruit up off floor.
  • Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry> it loose with a drewscriver.
  • Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity.
  • Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something.
  • Check the tequila.
  • Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. No wait..shtrain the lemon juice and shtift your nuts.
  • Add one table, no, add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
  • Greash the oven.
  • Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
  • Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
  • Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
  • Finish the tequila and wipe counter with the cat.

 

 

A moment in time… Tooty Fruity Cinnabons!

As we all know the cake business is a bit like the tide – you get an ebb and flow and rushes of activity and then you get those magic moments where time seems to stand still and you want them to last forever!

There is one moment in time I get to enjoy with my children that is really worth the effort. I go for the easy life and whip out my breadmaker for these babies – Cinnabons!

The moment I enjoy the most is the sound of silence and then the ooh’s and ahhs and the sound of licking sticky fingers as little people ask- “Mum can I have another?” It’s a kind of tear and share experience in our household and you don’t have to be a perfect baker to make them!

Yes – those moments are the ones I cherish because you never bake just one Cinnabon – Oh NO!- there’s always a cinnamon oozing packed tray full of them. So if you want to share my secrets for keeping up there with “the bestest MOM in the world”,¬† then read on and indulge in your own secret moment with a cup of your favourite brew ūüôā

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Tooty Fruity Cinnabons

Ingredients

Serves: 12

  • For the dough
  • 250ml (8 fl oz) warm milk (45 C)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 75g (3 oz) butter, melted
  • 600g (1 1/3 lb) white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100g (4 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons quick yeast
      For the filling

  • 225g (8 oz) dark brown soft sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 75g (3 oz) butter, softened
  • 150-200g of mixed dried fruit ( optional but my kids love it!)

For the icing

  • 100g (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 50g ( 2oz) butter softened
  • 200g (7 oz) icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Few teaspoons of lemon juice
Method

Prep: 20min  plus proving time of 1-2 hours , then cook for 15min

  1. Place ingredients for dough in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. I add flour, yeast and sugar and salt and then add the melted butter, milk and eggs. Select your sweet dough cycle; press start and watch your machine do it’s magic!
  2. After the dough has doubled in size ( usually an hour later)  turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Roll dough with your rolling pin into a 40x50cm (18×20 in) rectangle. Spread dough with 75g butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Add mixed fruit by sprinkling fruit all over the rectangle. Roll up dough and cut into 12 slices. Place buns in a lightly greased 23x33cm (9×13 in) baking tin. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled – takes about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 C / Gas mark 6.

Bake buns in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  While buns are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon juice. Spread half the icing on warm rolls after they come out of the oven Рsome will melt into them and then spread the remaining icing over them after they have cooled for a bit! Go on slop it on!

1462885_10152545358726992_1834493740_nEat and enjoy your moment ūüôā

PS –

If you don’t have a bread machine, you can do the folowing instead: Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, butter, salt and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Follow the recipe from step 3 onwards.

Cupcakes to Cricklade / Embracing change

I’ve always considered myself a bit of a Townie and having lived in Bournemouth the last eight years AND being from a seaside town in Ireland wondered why anyone would ever want to leave the sheer bliss of living by the seaside?¬†Well,¬†I have just gone though my own¬†‘Escape to the Country’¬†recently and am still reeling from the after effects!

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Crabbing at Mudeford with the Peckhams

When my husband suggested we would relocate here just over three months ago, never did I think it would become a reality.¬†Nope – my feet were planted in Bournemouth, and just the thought of moving made me weak in the knees.¬†However there is something exciting about a new location that can get your curiosity juices flowing. The ‘what if’ then becomes a “OH my gosh I’m actually doing it!!!!”

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                  Weymouth with Daniel and the boys

You see the crux of the matter is that I could see the excitement of a permanent job as a twinkle in my husband’s eyes.¬†The wonder of someone praising his experience gave my wonderful man a new lease of life. His future employers wanted to train him,¬†put him on courses and the lure of that, was the incentive to get us all moving forwards – dreaming for a life that was totally different from the one we were living.¬†When I married him I chose to be wherever he was, and couldn’t be apart from him a moment longer.

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Karin my packing Fairy

Sometimes the moving was painful for me as I realized that I would only see my beloved girlfriends ( like Karin above!)¬†and daughter Sophe when I was traveling back to Bournemouth. To say goodbye to our home was also difficult, as well as realizing¬†that we were all having to adapt and adjust to a life elsewhere. When “Moving Day” finally arrived our friends and our daughter’s friends had finally made it all possible.

Our children have been wonderful. They have embraced the “New Day” with excitement and wonder.¬†They have studied bugs, flies and insects they’ve never seen before and enjoyed the slower pace of life that inevitably comes when you are stuck behind a tractor down a country lane!¬†They have thrown themselves into their new school and made new friends who love them as much as their old ones did.¬†We still keep in touch with our friends and have many more happy times to share together.

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Change is not always easy but we learn to adapt, go along with the flow and sense a new beginning for us in our new home here.

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Chilling at South Cerney Lakes

So now is a time of looking forward and seeing what God has for us in this new season of our lives. It is lovely waking up in our new home and wondering what each day will bring. Finally we are all together and my husband comes home every night to us and not a hotel room!

And¬†cupcakes?¬†Yes, I bake them every now and again – it’s a good idea to share them when you are saying hello to your new neighbors and friends!

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Starting a Cake Business from Home

I recently held the first of a new course I’ve designed with cake makers who want to turn their hobby into a business. But it really could be for anyone!

When I began to write the course I realized that all the things I have learned over the years could be utilized for good and to encourage others to follow their dreams. When I first started cake decorating it really was a hobby, but now it has become a wonderful thriving business. I’ve lost count of the number of cakes I’ve baked but it really made me happy when one of my students wrote this on my facebook wall –

“Thank you for such an inspirational day yesterday. I can highly recommend the cake making and business course and would go as far to say DON’T set up a cake business without completing the Cake Heaven business course. The course was fun and covered every aspect of business. The information provided was priceless and Margaret from Cake Heavens experience is invaluable. Thanks Margaret, it’s now time for our cupcake empire to begin! “
Carly Coote, Bournemouth

Photo courtesy of Angela Craydon

Makes it all worthwhile! Thanks Carly x

When I was fifteen….behind the sunglasses

In response to Nicky Cawood at Curly and Candid who has bravely bared her soul to give us an insight of her life as a fifteen year old – here’s my two pence worth!

I was brought up in a wonderful family of four children, two girls, two boys with me being the eldest in a seaside town in southern Ireland. Life for me revolved around studying hard and “being the top 10” to gain my Dad’s approval for being a good student. During summertime the town got turned into a permanent fairground with the usual blow ins of “amusement boys” who seemed to have no end of female admirers hanging about the carousel each day and night.¬†I was not one of them.¬†

The night air was always filled with the scent of salt and vinegar, fish and chips and my friends and I looked forward to the Saturday night dance at the local disco which seemed to be filled with the most awful bunch of eejits you could ever lay eyes upon. I didn’t care for them – dancing around handbags was just as good fun with the girls instead of dealing with the awful breath of someone who’d had too many drinks and had just fallen out of the pub. I just liked having fun with my friends really.

Teenagerhood was scary for me I think I was full of angst and drama and I wondered if I could ever fall in love with anyone or even if anyone would or could ever love me. ¬†I didn’t really fit in, thought deeply about everything and had only a handful of friends to hang about with.¬†Life was a mix of “Im not in love” by 10 CC and secret listenings to a pirate radio station at nighttime under the covers as if I was up to something illegal listening to the radio. Whilst the songs played on, my heart was usually smitten with the odd teenage crush but the reality was I always dreamed of a prince charming to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away to somewhere different.

Having a daughter has helped me so much to see that in many ways she’s so like me but at least I can hug her and reassure her that things really do get better and life goes on.

Back then I really believed those Janis Ian lyrics “at Seventeen” which went like this –¬†

I learned the truth at seventeen That love was meant for beauty queens And high school girls with clear skinned smiles Who married young and then retired The valentines I never knew The Friday night charades of youth Were spent on one more beautiful At seventeen I learned the truth And those of us with ravaged faces Lacking in the social graces Desperately remained at home Inventing lovers on the phone Who called to say, "come dance with me" And murmur vague obscenities It isn't all it seems at seventeen

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Looking back on photos of me I don’t think I was unattractive however I really didn’t have much confidence in my looks or my ability to turn heads. If only I knew then what I knew now – I’d hug myself and say “you are beautiful”.

I still remember the night of my prom with absolute dread – that night was meant to be one of joy and happiness at graduating. Mine was a blind date that turned into a lecherous nightmare. Again I say to the me at fifteen – “I can’t turn back time but – you were lovely and you deserved better than him”. I had a lucky escape. Many other girls felt forced to sell themselves short. I’m glad my parents brought me up well and that I had respect for myself. I found that love is found in the heart of one who believes you are beautiful and has eyes for no one else.

My prince charming is more than I ever expected him to be and loved the real me. Thank you Paul – you’re the Best!

 

Cupcake Camp – what’s it all about?

Everyone’s asking what’s a Cupcake Camp – is it a girl guide Camp where you eat nothing but cake? I’m here to straighten the record!

CupcakeCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment. It originated in the States (embracing all things cupcake!) when the founder of Cupcake Camp, Aerial Waldman hosted the first ever Cupcake Camp in May 2008 in San Francisco. Aerial and her friends decided to organize the event due to the San Francisco demand for cupcake events (they were terribly jealous of all the New York cupcake events!). People can participate by buying or baking cupcakes to bring, or just simply by showing up to eat them.¬†Along the way Cupcake Camps have become great ways of raising money for charity as it’s always worth supporting a good cause.

And so it was when I decided to organize Cupcake Camp Bournemouth, I just couldn’t find anywhere you could enjoy a good day out with friends and family and enjoy the mouth watering loveliness of a good cupcake. I knew I could bake, ¬†but could I get other bakers to run with the idea too? I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that I thought I may as well run one and see how it goes! The Cupcake Camp in 2011 at the Poole Lighthouse was such a HUGE success that when I was asked to run the second Cupcake Camp in 2012, I decided to join forces with Melanie Kiani of Simply Events to make this year’s event bigger and better. This year we are supporting the NSPCC Childline and have Esther Rantzen opening up the Camp – 17th of March at the Pavilion, Bournemouth – it starts at 2pm so be early as we will have LOTS of people there!

We’ll also have a Live Show as well as plenty of stallholders selling everything from soaps to crafts to Cake related products so you can treat your mum on Mother’s Day as well as fun, facepainting, cake decorating and competitions! YAY it’s going to be amazing!

Power to the Cupcakes! Follow us on Twitter here

Here’s a snippet of last year’s Cupcake Camp