Tag Archive: Baking

Feb 06 2014

Fashionista Barbie Bakes: Simple Blueberry Muffins

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Since I started my healthy kick, cutting out sugar, chocolate and generally everything I love, I have found it hard to find anything to bake that doesn’t stray me too much from the new healthy me. But as I find baking a stress reliever and I love cake I just couldn’t stay away so I have been trying to figure out what is the healthiest cake option and I came up with Blueberry muffins – well they can’t be that bad as they are filled with yummy fruit.

OK, so I am not sure they are that healthy, just healthier than say double chocolate chip muffins, and they have to count as one of your five a day – right??? Well that is what I am telling myself with these delicious beauties that are so easy to make. Plus, if like me you are obsessed with juicing and smoothies you will probably already have lots of blueberries to get baking these for a little afternoon snack.

I promise these are so simple to make, around 10 minutes prep work, then all you have to do is sit back and let them bake for around 30 minutes – if it helps you could use the time wisely and do a mini-workout.

Are you a fan of blueberry muffins?

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Ingredients:

375g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
125ml vegetable oil
1 egg
125ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g blueberries – I prefer fresh but frozen works as well
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4, and line the muffin tine with 12 paper cases.

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl – gently mix. Then place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined – then add the blueberries and mix.

Spoon mixture evenly into the muffin cases. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Remove from muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.

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Dec 29 2013

Fashionista Barbie Bakes: Festive Cupcakes

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The festive period is one of my favourite times to bake, mainly because I have a little more time, but mostly because you can have a little bit more fun when it comes to decorating. I bake cupcakes and muffins all the time, sometimes chocolate, occasionally carrot cake, and lots of blueberry ones, but no matter what I love to have a recipe to follow, it is kind of like a safety net that reassures me along the way.

I have tried the cookbook stand, it never really stays put, I have tried using the iPad on a stand, but getting cake mix on the screen is annoying, so when I heard that the Microsoft Surface had a Bing Food & Drink app that you could literally use with a swipe of a hand I had to give it ago.

Armed with my cupcake recipe ingredients, I turned on the hands-free mode on the app, so I could literally swipe my hand in front of the web-camera to get the page to turn, so it was easy to see what was next on my recipe. Plus you can search through lots of different recipes, so I decided to try out a new cupcake mix, which turned out really well.

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Ingredients:

Cupcakes

200g unsalted butter, at room temperature – I like to leave out for at least an hour before

200g caster sugar

4 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

Buttercream

300g unsalted butter, at room temperature

750g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Green food colouring

Decorations

Festive toppers, sprinkles, stars, glitter – anything goes

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 160°C/315°F/Gas mark 2-3, and line the muffin tine with 12 paper cases.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and light. I use a free-standing mixer – the Kenwood K-Mix on a medium speed for about 3-4 minutes.

Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition, don’t forget to scrap down the sides of the bowl from time to time to make sure everything is mixed. Then add the flour, salt and baking powder, and mix together until combined. I use the fold setting on my free-standing mixer but you can easily use a large metal spoon or rubber spatula to do by hand.

Then using an ice-cream scoop or a table-spoon add the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes spring back slightly when pressed, and when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Add the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extra to a large bowl and beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. When mixed well, add a couple of drops of food colouring, remember if you are planning to use two colours divide the mixture first, then remix until all the buttercream is the chosen colour.

You can either then decorate with a palette knife or by using a piping bag, I prefer a piping bag as it is more fun. Try using different nozzles to create different effects on your cupcakes.

Once you have added the buttercream decorate as you wish – I added Christmas tree, snowmen, penguins and polar bear toppers, as well as pink glitter dust, candy stars and silver balls – I basically was going for mini Christmas trees.

As well as these cupcakes I also made a cherry and raisin loaf, mince pies and honeycomb brownies – what are you favourite festive recipes?

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**Microsoft Surface was gifted to me as part of my participation in the Microsoft Loop**

Jun 18 2013

Canon PowerShot N Experience: Perfecting My Cupcake Decorating Skills

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The past few weeks I have been reviewing the unconventional, fun, and very dinky Canon PowerShot N, and it has fast becoming my go-to camera on the move instead of my mobile, due to its Instagramable size, its creative shot function, and its WiFi connectivity.

When the guys at Canon asked me to try it out they didn’t just send me the camera and leave me to it, know the team organised for me to experience the camera doing something inspired by Instagram feed – baking – and sent me off to perfect my cupcake decorating skills at a class in Notting Hill, while capturing my results with the camera.

While I might be confident baking a cake, cookies and cupcakes, the decorating part has always terrified me a little so this class was perfect to boost my confidence and show me how easy it actually is. I am a huge fan of buttercream and cream cheese frosting and it was good to finally learn how to perfect the techniques - from simple swirls to the ice gem effect and even creating a pretty rose, and then having fun with the glitter, sprinkles, hearts and lip decorations to finish them off.

I have to be honest I was pretty impressed with my results, not just of my cupcake decorating but also of the quality of the camera pictures, and just looking through these piccies has made me not only want to bake and try and see if I can still frost to perfection, but also hungry!!!

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The ease at which you use the Canon PowerShot N is why it is such a great camera for on the go, you literally hold it any way up, you can tilt the screen to capture a unique shot, and then when you are all set up you touch the screen to snap – it really is that simple. Of course there is much more to this camera than just Auto mode, which I will show you in a full review of the camera in a later blog, but for capturing your baking, your DIY or even inspiration while out-and-about this camera is perfect – plus these shots were all taken without the flash and in a not so well-lit room and the quality is amazing.

One of the most innovative and fun functions has to be the ‘Creative Shot’, which simple takes one shot and generates it into five creative images – whether adding a filter effect such as black and white, cropping it in an unusual way, or making the image look over exposed, while keeping the original shot. I just like the fact it gives you options without having to technically do anything.

To demonstrate the feature I took some of my cupcakes and it generating some interesting results. The next three shots generated from the fairly boring shot off all four cupcakes at the very bottom – I really like the close up off the lip decorations, which went down well on my Instagram feed as it adds a different dimension to the cupcake.

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**Thanks to Canon for sending me the camera to review and my cupcake class – all views on the camera are my own**

Apr 12 2013

Fashionista Barbie Bakes: The Great River Bake Off

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A couple of weeks ago the River Island press team asked me if I wanted to take part in their Great River Bake Off along with some fab bloggers and magazines, apparently the team had seem my Instagram feed full of Easter treats and thought I would be up for the challenge.

I am not always the best in the kitchen, I can be a little hit and miss when it comes to actually cooking a meal, but baking cakes is one of my favourite things to do and I do love a little competition among friends. So we all had to make a Victoria Sponge from the ingredients we were sent, it was just up to us about which recipe, how to decorate, and of course baking it!!!

I decided to make miniature Victoria Sponge cakes as when I was little I remember making these with my mum, but back then we used to make a large cake and then use a cookie cutter, but thanks to the genius that is Lakeland you can actually makes these little beauties with a special miniature sandwich tin tray, which I have to be honest makes it so much easier.

I was so pleased with how the miniature cakes came out and I think I have finally perfected the art of making great buttercream, so I was really chuffed to find out that the River Island team judged my cakes as the ‘Best Tasting’. Oh yeah I actually won, not the overall competition, but come on the taste of the cake is surely the most important!!!

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Ingredients:

Miniature Sponges

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature – I like to leave out for at least an hour before

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

Buttercream

150g unsalted butter at room temperature

300g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

6-8 tsp strawberry jam

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and light. I use a free-standing mixer – the Kenwood K-Mix on a medium speed for about 3-4 minutes.

Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition, don’t forget to scrap down the sides of the bowl from time to time to make sure everything is mixed. Then add the vanilla extract and mix again.

Sift the flour and salt into the mixing bowl and fold in – either use the fold setting on your free-standing mixer or use a large metal spoon or rubber spatula to do by hand until the mixture is glossy and smooth.

Divide the mixture between the Mini Sandwich Tin – roughly one heaped tablespoon – just over half way up on the tin, and level with a teaspoon.

Bake on the middle shelf of your preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes until golden, well risen and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.

Leave the cakes to rest in the tin for 5 minutes, this gives them time to cool to make it easier to remove. My tin has loose bottoms to the tray to make it easier to remove – do so carefully and run a knife round the edges if they are stuck to the sides. Place onto a wire rack and leave until cold.

While the cakes are cooling make the buttercream by cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is pale and light.

Cut each of the cakes in half, do this carefully so not to break the cakes. Spread the bottom layer with buttercream and the top with a teaspoon of jam and sandwich together. Lightly dust with icing sugar to serve.

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It was so much fun taking part and I love that I won the ‘Best Tasting’ cakes – thanks to the River Island press team for inviting me to take part and sending me the most adorable apron!!!

Want to see all the other entrants, and the overall winner Grazia head on over to River Island’s blog, the Style Insider.

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Mar 28 2013

Fashionista Barbie Bakes: Chocolate Oreo Brownies

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I find baking relaxing and therapeutic – if I am stressed it is one of the best ways to clear my head. One of my favourite recipes to bake is Lorraine Pascale's Chocolate Oreo Brownies, which I first saw on her BBC show 'Baking is Easy'.

I am a huge brownie fan, I love that they are easy to make, versatile – you can substitute the Oreos for raspberries, white chocolate chunks, nuts, mini eggs, basically anything, and they are easy to make.

Oh and they are so delicious – this recipes makes the best gooey centred brownies I have ever made and with the added crunch of the Oreos they are simply perfection!!!

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Ingredients:

165g butter, plus extra for greasing

200g dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla extract

165g soft light brown sugar

2 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp cocoa powder

pinch salt

154g pack of Oreos, broken into quarters

icing sugar, for dusting

Instructions:

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in square baking tin with butter, then line with baking paper with the paper overlapping the sides a little.

Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated (or chopped) chocolate. Leave to stand for a few minutes, or until the chocolate melts, and then stir together.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until the eggs begin to get light and fluffy. Add the sugar in two additions, whisking between each. Pour it around the side of the egg mix so as not to knock out the air that has been whisked in. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes stiffer. Once the egg mixture is ready, pour the chocolate into it – again around the sides so as not to knock the air out.

Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and a third of the biscuits and stir until fully combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter the remaining biscuits over the top, pressing them in slightly. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25–30 minutes. The middle should be very so slightly gooey. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin – the top will sink and crack a little.

Pull the brownies out using the overlapping paper and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar.

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**Recipe taken from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy book, but can also be found here on the BBC website**

 

Jan 20 2013

My Perfect Sunday: Tea, Cookies & Grace Coddington

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I got out my recently purchased vintage Salisbury Bone China tea set, which I acquired at a charity shop, it is beautiful with a subtle floral print and a gold trim, I just love its Granny chic vibe.

There is something special about tea sets that I just love, they are my latest obsession I love a bit of Wedgewood, but when I saw this beautiful set complete with two cups and saucers, a tea pot, a milk jug, a sugar bowl and a tiny side plate, I just couldn’t resist it and I am so pleased I didn’t as it was perfect for my Sunday afternoon tea party for one!!!

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A tea party wouldn’t be complete without a cookie, and this double chocolate chip beauty was one I made earlier, and received high praise from my boyfriend who declared them my best ever, I think it was because for the first time my cookies actually came out looking round.

Then to make the setting perfect, I made my table all pretty by added some beautiful roses, I just love how flowers just seem to make me smile, and lit my favourite Osprey London ‘Dark Amber’ candle, it smells just like Christmas and is super relaxing, and then all I needed was a good book.

For Christmas I received so many fashion books to add to my growing library and I have slowly been working my way through them all and today I finally got a chance to start reading Grace Coddington’s autobiography. It is such a beautiful book filled with cute illustrations, can you spy Anna Wintour sat next to Grace below on the front row, and pictures of Grace when she was a model – I seriously can’t wait to get stuck into this book.

So what would be your perfect Sunday afternoon?

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