Valentine´s Surprise Cupcakes/Fairy Cakes

I decided to make these cupcakes/fairy cakes to enter in a Valentine´s Day competition held by Dulce Kitz & in conjunction with Fabricando Delicias.... so wish me luck! I saw the recipe in my Big Book of Cakes & Cookies by Hannah Miles and had been wanting to try it out. As I copied the recipe exactly and didn´t change anything, I´m not going to blog the recipe but I´ll just tell you that the cupcakes contain cocoa and natural yoghurt.

The surprise element is that you place a chocolate-covered sweet or candy in the middle of the cake, which I suppose is supposed to melt,leaving a gooey, sticky centre when you bite into it. I wasn´t sure what kind of chocolate-covered sweets to use(seeing as my book is in Spanish and I wasn´t very sure of the translation). In the end, I found some white chocolate skulls (not really very romantic!) with a strawberry filling which I used. The sweet didn´t melt as I expected it to but still tasted ok in the cake!

I bought some Wilson heart cupcake cases and some heart sprinkles from Fabricando Delicias. After the cakes had cooled, I covered the cake with a chocolate ganache and decorated it with silver balls and the heart sprinkles. Just one idea of what you can make or give to your sweetheart this Valentine´s Day!


Christmas Biscuit Decorating Course

Just before Christmas I did another course at Fabricando Delicias, this time about decorating Christmas biscuits, however I haven´t had time to blog them until now! The course was held over two Saturday mornings from 10am to 2pm. Fabricando Delicias provided the biscuits to be decorated, which were delicious by the way, and gave us the recipe of how to make the biscuits. The first week was dedicated to decorating the biscuits with Royal Icing. We bought some ready made royal icing, which you add to boiling water and mix until you get the right consistency for piping...so not too thin and liquidy as the icing tends to run and drip off the biscuits more, but at the same time not too thick as it dries out too quickly. José also showed us how to do my favourite thing of all....prepare your own icing bags with parchment paper! I´m getting better at it now after plenty of practice. I´ll be an expert at it soon! We then decorated the biscuits using different colours of royal icing...an angel, a bauble, two Christmas trees, two Santa faces and a snowman. My favourite ones were the snowman and the green Christmas tree. It was much easier than I expected. The most difficult part is getting the right consistency of the ready made Royal Icing and then when piping as it´s hot, you have to work quite quickly before it cools otherwise it dries up and also so that you don´t burn your hands/fingers!

The following Saturday morning was dedicated to decorating biscuits with fondant. This is more fiddly and takes longer as it takes quite a lot of work to colour the fondant the shade you want. If you were good at clay or plastacine modelling, then you should excel at this! I was never very good at either but with patience and practice, plus a good imagination or pictures to base your decorations on, then they will turn out very pretty. First of all we decorated three of the biscuits as the Three Wise Men, then we decorated one as Father Christmas´s face and finally a snowman snow scene. The only thing is that they look almost too pretty to eat!


Turkey Tikka Masala style

I´m not very good at eating leftovers so after the Christmas Day turkey, we bagged up the leftovers and froze them in different portions. I took a portion out to defrost to make a turkey curry...ok,not very original as that´s what the majority of people do with leftover turkey but why not? Plus I really fancied a curry. This is a curry I made up roughly based on chicken tikka masala, which I made a vegetarian version of but as it was an experiment I didn´t write the quantities down. This time I made sure I wrote the quantities down and although it was very tasty (even if I do say so myself!)it turned out different to the first time I made it!

Ingredients (for 2 people)

1/2 medium to large onion, finely chopped

leftover turkey (not sure how much I used..I just eyeballed it)

4-5 mushrooms, sliced

1/4 red pepper, chopped

1/4 green pepper,chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp of olive oil (or vegetable)

1 inch ginger, peeled and grated

2 cardamon pods, crushed

5 tsp curry powder (depending on how hot you like your curry, add more)

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1tsp ground cumin

about 1/4 cup of water

about 1/3 cup of cream (when I made the vegetarian version, I used sour cream which gave a thicker sauce)

about 1/3 - 1/2 tetrabrick of tomato sauce/tinned tomatoes (again not sure as I eyeballed it)


1. Heat olive oil in frying pan and fry onion, garlic, mushrooms and peppers till tender.

2.Add grated ginger and other spices and cook till aromatic.

3. Add turkey and heat a little, then add the 1/4 cup of water and cook for a few minutes.

4. Add tomato sauce and cream and cook on a low heat till meat is heated through.

5.Serve with boiled Basmati rice or pilau rice.

* If you like your curries very spicy, you could also add fresh chilies or some chili powder to your curry.


My first Christmas Cake- Part 2 Decorating the cake

First of all, I´d like to wish you all a happy New Year. With all the Christmas preparations etc plus the fact that I was very behind schedule with everything, I haven´t had much time to blog. I had decided to make my own almond paste seeing as the city I live in Spain doesn´t sell ready-made roll out marzipan. So I set to work making the almond paste using the recipe from the Dairy Book of Home Cookery. It was actually a lot easier than I expected. Unfortunately, the recipe called for caster sugar but as I didn´t have any (again not easy to buy in the city where I live) I substituted it with granulated sugar, thinking it wouldn´t be much of a problem. How wrong was I! The actual taste of the almond paste was nice but it was really gritty as if it contained grains of sand or salt in it!! I ended up throwing it away and asking my mum to bring the ready made roll out stuff.

I rolled the marzipan out into a circle (my mum hadn´t brought enough to cover the whole cake) and then brushed the fruit cake with apricot jam, then placed the marzipan circle on top of the cake.

After leaving the marzipan to dry out for a day, I made some royal icing using Hannah Miles´s recipe from the Big Book of Cakes and Cookies and my new electric hand whisk (an early Christmas pressie!) and then using a spatula iced the cake as smoothly as I possibly could. It was all very last minute...I think I was still decorating it on Christmas Eve!

After leaving the icing to dry out for about a day, I decorated the side of the cake with a pretty silver ribbon I found, using a tiny bit of saved icing to seal the ends of the ribbon together y voila!

I then dusted the cake with some silver pearl dust and coloured some leftover fondant green. Using a holly shaped biscuit cutter I cut out three holly leaves and with a knife tried to make the veins as realistic looking as I could (which unfortunately wasn´t much!) and with a little water stuck them on top of the cake.Then using some leftover red fondant I formed three little balls for the berries, which I placed in the centre of the leaves. Not too bad for a fairly rushed decorating job and for a first Christmas cake!

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