Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes

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Welcome to Day 7 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 Christmas cupcakes are really cute, and a great alternative to a rich fruit cake.  They are great fun and really easy to decorate, perfect for making with children now the schools have broken up for Christmas!

We made some reindeer ones, using a red jellybean for the nose, mini marshmallows and writing icing for the eyes and pretzel sticks with flaked almonds attached on with icing for the antlers. We also made some adorable snowmen with marshmallow hats and pretzel arms.

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Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

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Welcome to Day 2 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 cookies are really quick to make, perfect for baking when unexpected visitors pop in! They’re best eaten straight from the oven, while the chocolate is still melted. They work really well with cranberries and dark chocolate, but you can use whatever chocolate you have in the cupboard. Orange zest also works really well in place of the cinnamon.

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Pear and ginger frangipane tarts

Pear and ginger frangipane tarts

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Welcome to Day 1 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 pear and ginger tarts are the perfect Christmassy bake, and are a great alternative to some of the richer cakes at this time of year, especially for anyone who doesn’t like mince pies.

They are perfect served cold with a cup of tea, but are just as good heated up with ice-cream as a dessert. Try and use a firm pear, as it will soften as it cooks, and you want it to retain some flavour and texture.

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Sugar and Crumbs review and Valentine’s Day Brownies

Sugar and Crumbs review and Valentine’s Day Brownies

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A couple of weeks ago I was sent a bag of goodies by the lovely Sugar and Crumbs, who are a company selling naturally flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders. I was sent their new flavours to try, which included a salted caramel icing sugar, coffee icing sugar, black cherry icing sugar, and my personal favourite: cherry cocoa powder.

I found this cocoa powder really easy to work with, and it had a great cherry flavour. In these brownies I used some cherry cocoa and some normal, as I didn’t want the cherry to be too overpowering, as well as making my sample last longer!

These brownies would be perfect for a Valentine ’s Day tea party, as they are squidgy and chocolatey, with a hint of cherry, and some juicy cherry pieces. Or, of course, you could just eat them all yourself…!

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Chocolate Cherry Brownies:

175g butter

350g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

3 eggs

125g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

30g Sugar and Crumbs cherry cocoa powder

20g normal cocoa powder

60g dried cherries, soaked in boiling water mixed with 1 tbsp cherry cocoa powder for 2 hours, then chopped.

80g dark chocolate, chopped

20 x 30cm baking tray, greased and lined with baking paper

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then pour onto the sugar and mix well. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then add the vanilla.
  2. Add the eggs to the mixture and stir, then sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoas.
  3. Fold in, then add the chopped chocolate and cherries and stir again.
  4. Pour into the tin and spread out evenly, then cook for 25-30 minutes, until the top has a crust, but still a slight wobble.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then cut into slices
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Blue ombré birthday cake

Blue ombré birthday cake

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This year I want to challenge myself with my baking, and try new things, (including bread!), as well as improving old recipes of mine. This sponge is a good way to start any year, as it’s light and fluffy, gently speckled with vanilla seeds, and covered with a striking and beautiful icing, which will be enjoyed by everyone!

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This birthday cake, which I made for my sister before I went back to uni this week after the Christmas holidays, was inspired by the fresh colours of January. I always feel that January is a pale blue kind of month – slightly washed out, slightly icy, but still a pretty colour. This cake is simple, with a vanilla sponge and jam filling, but it will appeal to everyone, and is a great staple.

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Blue ombré birthday cake

For the cakes:

340g butter

340g caster sugar

2tsp vanilla bean paste

6 eggs

340g self-raising flour

150g strawberry jam

For the icing:

120g butter, softened

500g icing sugar

30ml milk

1tsp vanilla bean paste

Blue gel food colouring

Blue macarons and candles to decorate

3 x 20cm cake tins, greased and lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180°C

  1. For the cakes, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric whisk, until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg, and adding a spoonful of flour if it looks like it might curdle.
  3. Sift in the remaining flour once all the eggs have been added, and fold it in.
  4. Spoon the mixture equally into the 3 tins, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until risen and the sponge springs back when lightly touched.
  5.  Meanwhile make the icing – put the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  6. Divide the icing into 4 bowls, and colour accordingly – you want one left white, one with 8 drops of blue gel in, one with 16-20 drops of blue gel in, and the final bowl with enough blue gel to turn it a dark blue colour.
  7. When the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. When cold, even up the tops with a serrated knife until even, then layer the, up on a cake stand with the strawberry jam.
  9. Now you are ready to ice! Ice the top of the cake and ¼ of the way down the side with the white icing. Then spread the palest blue another ¼ of the way down, slightly blurring the join with your palette knife.
  10. Repeat with the remaining two blue icings, then draw your palette knife round the whole cake to create a smooth finish.
  11. Decorate with macarons and candles and serve!