Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

IMG_6539[1]Sometimes you just need some chocolate in your life, and these squidgy, swirled cupcakes with cream cheese icing are the perfect way to get it. The use of plain flour instead of self raising, with just a bit of baking powder and bicarb, mean that the cakes are dense and moist, but also rise enough.

It’s important that you use a good quality peanut butter for the swirl, if you use a cheap one with lots of added sugar, the cake will be too sweet, and will lack a real peanut butter flavour. We had a 1kg tub of Meridian crunchy peanut butter in the cupboard which I used, Meridian is a really good brand to use because they don’t add sugar to their peanut butter, and it’s also made without using palm oil.

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Chocolate Easter nests

Chocolate Easter nests

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Chocolate nests are a staple recipe for Easter time, and something I’m sure everyone can remember making (or eating!) when they were little. I remember first making chocolate nests when I was about six, with my mum and sister, and trying my best to eat all the mini eggs before they could make it as far as the actual nests! So when I was thinking about what Easter presents I could make for my friends this year, I decided to go for a new take on this classic, and make giant chocolate nests, with lots of eggs inside, and a little sparkle of glitter.

You can use whatever chocolate you want for these nests, I went for a mix of milk and dark, but anything would work, even chocolate orange. Make sure you crush your shredded wheat quite finely, as you want it to all get evenly coated in the chocolate mixture. They make perfect presents, simply wrap in tissue paper or cellophane and tie with an Eastery ribbon and you’re done!

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Spiced cherry tea loaf

Spiced cherry tea loaf

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Do you ever get the feeling that you really want to bake something, but you don’t really have any time to spare? For me baking is the perfect distraction (some might say procrastination…) from my dissertation, but it does mean I have to have some quick recipes to make during a break from work. Enter this amazing tea loaf.

This cake is literally the easiest cake you’ll ever make. Normally making a tea loaf would require you to be organised the night before, and remember to leave your dried fruits to soak in tea overnight, but with my microwave method you can have this ready for the oven in 10 minutes. You can also swap the dried fruits if you don’t fancy glace cherries, dried sour cherries would also be really good, or even some mixed peel for a citrus twist.

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Spiced cherry tea loaf:

  • 200g raisins
  • 100g glace cherries
  • 225ml boiling water
  • 1 tea bag of your choice – I used Pukka Star anise and cinnamon tea
  • 50g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 egg

A large loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper

  • Heat your oven to 180°C
  1.  Put the raisins into a bowl with the tea bag and the boiling water, then microwave for 3 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and leave to stand for 10 minutes before adding the cherries to the mixture.
  2. Make the cake by creaming the butter, sugar and vanilla together and then adding the egg.
  3. Add half the flour, and beat in well, before adding all the fruit mixture, and any liquid left in the bowl. Stir well, then add the rest of the flour and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then bake in the oven for about 1 hour, checking with a skewer to see if it’s cooked.
  5. Enjoy with a cup of tea.
Healthy raspberry muffins

Healthy raspberry muffins

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So it’s January, and 2016! I’m excited for this year, because in September I will be starting my PGCE, but also terrified, because before I start that PGCE I need to pass my current degree, and that involves writing 8000 words on the lyrics of the Reformation…! But January also tends to inspire people into eating a bit more healthily and doing more exercise, but while I am no help at all with the latter, I have come up with an amazing healthy muffin recipe, which is perfect for breakfast on the go.

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Cherry, almond and chocolate marble cake

Cherry, almond and chocolate marble cake

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So I’ve been away from this blog for ages! But what better recipe to return with than a gorgeous cherry and chocolate marble cake? The beauty of this recipe is that you get the best of both worlds: a moist cherry and almond cake AND a rich chocolate cake, swirled together and topped with crunchy flaked almonds. The key to the marble in the cake is actually not to swirl the mixture too much. Stick to alternating the flavours as you go through the mixture, then just do a light wiggle with the end of a fork when you’ve spooned it all in and the marble should be perfect!

It’s also a great cake to make now that English cherries are in season, they help to keep it so moist, along with the ground almonds. I made it for my Dad on Father’s Day, and it makes a perfect afternoon treat with a cup of tea.

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Peanut butter flapjack bars

Peanut butter flapjack bars

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These peanut butter bars are a cross between flapjack and granola bars, with chewy, peanutty oats and toasted almonds and seeds for a bit of crunch. You could also add some raisins or any other dried fruit that tickles your fancy! These yummy bars are also free from refined sugar, as my sister has still given up refined sugar for Lent! They use the natural sweetness of dates, which we’re making into a puree, as a sweetener, which along with the peanut butter (remember to use a really natural one without palm oil), makes them perfectly sweet enough.

They work just like a normal flapjack, except instead of melting butter, golden syrup and sugar, we’re melting coconut oil, peanut butter and date puree to stir into the mixture of oats, seeds and flaked almonds. These are perfect for an afternoon snack, as the absence of refined sugar means they won’t give you any crazy sugar highs and lows, and the oats will help to keep you full for longer.

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Peanut butter flapjack bars:

  • 8 medjool dates
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 50g toasted flaked almonds
  • 25g sunflower seeds
  • 25g pumpkin seeds
  • 30g coconut oil
  • 40g crunchy natural peanut butter
  1. Put the dates in a saucepan with 200ml of water and bring to the boil. Cook the dates until really soft and falling apart, then blend to a puree in a food processor.
  2. Tip the oats, seeds and flaked almonds into a mixing bowl and stir.
  3. Melt the coconut oil over a gentle heat, then stir in the peanut butter until combined.
  4. Mix in the date puree until you get a smooth mixture, then add to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated.
  5. Tip the mix into the lined tin and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then tip out of the tin and cut into bars.

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Chocolate and cherry panettone

Chocolate and cherry panettone

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Welcome to Day 12 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These individual panettone are the perfect Christmas morning breakfast! They can be made the day before and then reheated in the microwave. They are perfect served with a Chai Latte while opening presents!

So this is the last day of the 12 days of Christmas on the blog, Thankyou everyone for reading, it has been so much fun. Merry Christmas!

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Chocolate and cherry panettone:

For the dough:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 120ml warm milk
  • 2 tbsp. fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

For the Second proving:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 165g soft butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • Zest 1 orange

To add before shaping:

  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 100g dried cherries
  1. Mix the first batch of ingredients together to make a smooth mixture, then cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for half an hour.
  2. After half an hour, add the second lot of ingredients and stir until combined, then tip out onto the surface and knead for 10 minutes. It will be very sticky to start with, but should get less so as you knead it!
  3. Leave to prove for 2 hours until doubled in size.
  4. Once it has proved, knead in the chocolate and cherries until well distributed,  then divide into 12 pieces (should be 100g for each piece if you’re being precise!) and put into the tin.
  5. Leave to prove for 2 hours, then bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 10 minutes. When cooked, turn out onto a board, remove the paper and cover with a tea towel.