Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Buttercream Cake

 

A decidedly grown up cake. Raspberry buttercream layered between sticky, sweet chocolate cake, and covered in a deep dark chocolate ganache? The perfect cake to say Happy Birthday to my lovely Dad.

On a rare break from watching the Olympics, yes I am engrossed, and spend every moment I can soaking up all the action.. I baked this delicious cake for the main man in my life. Daddy! He adores a big bowl of fresh raspberries and cream when he comes home from work, so I knew his cake needed to have raspberries in it somehow. Paired with his love of chocolate, and I knew it called for only one thing. This yummy recipe from Sweetapolita. I played about with it a little, especially the buttercream, but I hope I did it justice. She was so kind to reply to me on Twitter when I tweeted her a photo of it! I was thrilled, and it definitely made my day.

This is by no means a perfectly executed cake, it’s a little rough around the edges I know. But I feel that’s part of its charm, it’s approachable, and it certainly makes up for it when you take a huge bite! Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

August have arrived, and that means only one thing.. the holidays are half way over and the new term of September looms even closer. Right now I don’t really want to dwell on that thought as I am perfectly happy where I am right now, and loving every minute of the time I have to relax and enjoy summer. At the beginning of every holidays, I always draw up an imaginary list of all the things I would like to have done, or feel I should have completed by the end of summer. Things I will look back on and remember, make it stand out, make me feel it has been a memorable summer. I never manage to complete that imaginary list, and yet I never feel that the summer has been wasted.Yes it may have flown by, far too fast for my liking, but so far I still have very fond memories of all my summers. Perhaps the need to feel I have achieved something, or done something out of the ordinary overrides the simple need to relax, unwind and enjoy a peaceful vacation.

We all sat together as a family, (a rare occasion) and enjoyed this 3 layer delight. Dad’s first exclamation of “Mmmm!” was enough to convince me it was all worth it and it had been a success. The sharpness of the raspberry takes away a little of the ultra sweetness of the buttercream, whilst the rich dark chocolate on top makes an amazing partner for the fresh raspberries and moist chocolate cake. An all-round crowd pleaser.

I wouldn’t want to take any credit for this delicious recipe, and to be perfectly honest when it comes to the buttercream I can’t remember the exact recipe I must have used in the end, as I played around with the flavour and texture for so long! (I have began to bake by instinct now I reckon) and also, I forgot to add the vanilla extract into the cake, oops! So if you would like to make your own Chocolate and Raspberry masterpiece, then please head on over to Sweetapolita, and give it a try:

Dark Chocolate Cake

Swiss Meringue Buttercream  

(though as I mentioned, I didn’t like the texture of how mine turned out, and added icing sugar and whipped until it was more like regular buttercream.)

Dark Chocolate Ganache 

This turned out PERFECT! Give it try!

Once again, thank you so much for stopping by Snazzy Biscuits, your continued comments and support means the world, and I can’t wait to share more yummy bakes with you!

Amy x

 

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Dreamy Rainbow Cupcakes

Let the fun and games begin!

It’s hard to believe tomorrow marks the start of that rather important world event in London.. Yes the Olympic Games of 2012 have arrived! Cue mass National Pride and just a little harmless rivalry as the world gets ready to turn its eyes to London.

These cupcakes were originally meant to be adorned with those iconic coloured rings, the Olympic Games’ symbol. However as the Olympic organisers/bosses/spoil-sports decided it would be a great idea to ban all use of these harmless and universal coloured circles on all goods, including cakes and cupcakes, this idea had to be sadly scrapped. Where’s the fun in that? This received a very large BOO from me when I found out. I was willing to bravely go ahead and decorate my cupcakes as I pleased, but I soon realised that cutting out rings was proving a little too fiddly, and maybe it was in fact best to stay on the right side of the law.  Thus, these cupcakes became simply Rainbow Cupcakes, but I hope you appreciate their nod towards all things Olympic.

And on a happier note, the sun finally decided to shine on Northern Ireland today! Yay, summer has arrived!

Whilst making these happiness-filled little buns, I found it impossible not to taste and sample as I go along. Yes, I’ll hold my hands up, I am the type of baker who licks her fingers with joy and always pop away a cupcake when its fresh from the oven and still steaming. I guess it’s something that I’ve done since I was very little, and is a habit that doesn’t want to leave me. It ain’t so good for the thighs, but it’s excellent for the soul! I call it the ‘Baker’s Diet’. I often spend so long in the kitchen, and inevitably nibbling away at some leftovers, or finding a happy home for that ugly cupcake (you always get one right?) that soon I get so sick of looking at so much sweetness and gooeyness, and FOOD, that I have to give myself a good few hours out of the kitchen, and drink water, lots of water, that after all that, I wasn’t hungry and oops, I missed lunchtime! I think I need to learn to NOT eat as I go, and NOT constantly lick buttercream off my fingers! Woops! Please tell me this isn’t just me?

Anyway, these cute cupcakes are made with a classic Vanilla Cupcake recipe and a Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream to match.You simply divide the mixture into small bowls, colour each a different colour with food colouring and then gently spoon a little of each in layers into your cupcake cases. Then bake, frost and enjoy!

I hope unlike me, you can resist the urge to taste-test as you go, and have the patience to wait and enjoy the momentous first bite of a huge, fluffy, creamy cupcake. (Man that sounds good, don’t it?)

Hehe, Have a lovely day,

Amy x

Sweet Cherry Cupcakes

Sweet as a Cherry Pie..

Summer always seemed to last forever, when I broke up at the end of term as a nine or ten year old. I now realize it is only a mere two months, and a very short two months at that. Days which otherwise would seem endless, suddenly seem to become even shorter, and there are never enough hours to pack in everything that is needed. For now though I am content to bake, read, and repeat, in that order. It seems the perfect way to spend a lazy summer for now. It’s hardly like the Northern Irish weather permits anything more summery or outdoorsy.. rain always puts paid to that.

In an effort to inject a little sweet summery happiness lately, I decided to whip up these cute little cupcakes, made with yummy morello cherry jam, and matching  fluffy icing! A family get together was calling and so I knew these would be the perfect little treats to share. I skirted out to the cinema with friends though, sadly a date I could not get around, and so had to enjoy one of these yummies when I arrived home later. Once again inspired by a recipe from my favourite Lola’s Cupcakes book, which still hasn’t made it back to the library, oops!

Oh so sweet and sticky, the cherry jam adds colour and gooey bits to the cupcake mixture,and gives the buttercream frosting a light cherry taste and beautiful pink colour. These really are very sweet indeed my friends!

*inspired by Lola’s, but my own recipe

Sweet Cherry Cupcakes

125g butter
125g sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
1tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp morello cherry jam, warmed in microwave
1tbsp milk
 
Preheat oven to 160oc (fan assisted)

1. Cream together butter and sugar using an electric mixer still fluffy. Then add eggs and beat in.

2. Sift in the flour, mix to combine, then add milk and vanilla extract and beat till creamy.

3. Using a spatula gently fold in the warm cherry jam, only a few times, you don’t want to completely combine it. You want the mixture to be streaked, or marbled throughout with cherry jam.

4. Divide between muffin cases and bake in the oven for around 20- 25 mins. Check with a skewer, which should come out clean.

5. Remove from tin and place on a cooling rack.

Fluffy Cherry Buttercream

3oz butter
80z icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp slightly warmed cherry jam
1tbsp milk
 
1. Whip the butter until smooth and cremy. Sieve in icing sugar.

2. Beat together with jam until smooth and creamy. Slowly add a little milk at a time until of desired consistency.

3. Beat for around 3-4 mins, or even longer if you can manage it, until buttercream is light and fluffy in texture.

4.Place in piping bag and swirl over cupcakes using a star nozzle.

5. Decorate as you please.. I used little fondant flowers and a spot of extra buttercream on top.

Enjoy! Thanks for dropping by! x

Blogging Awards

Wow, so I am overwhelmed to be thanking not one, but two lovely blogging buddies who were so kind as to nominate me for some bloggie awards! They reached me while in France and put the biggest smile on my face, so thank you so much!

Firstly, the lovely Jessica @ A lot on your plate kindly nominated me for the Beautiful blog award. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the notification, and I really was so excited. It feels amazing to know your work and blog is being appreciated and loved by others, so thank you once again Jessica!

Here we go.. The ‘Rules’

  1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.
7 Random Facts About Myself
  • I have a strawberry birthmark on my collar bone, which I hope never disappears.
  • My wardrobe always seems to consist of Navy and White, I can’t help it!
  • I had the honour of being Head Girl in my high school last year.

  • Mushrooms are growing on me, I used to hate them, but I’m beginning to appreciate these interesting vegetables.
  • I never eat just one type of cereal, I enjoy a mixture in my bowl!
  • Tomato ketchup goes with just about everything, I can never be without it.
  • I LOVE travelling! I have been on 15 flights in the past 2 years, I think that’s a new record!

Now to nominate some equally beautiful blogs:

  1. Sarah @ Daily Nibbles
  2. A Sweeter Thing
  3. Stephanie @ A Whisk and a Spoon
  4. Diné @ Bake Love Not War
  5. Jen @ Lattes and Leggings
  6. Kristy @ Eat, Play, Love
  7. Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin

Congratulations lovelies, very well deserved! Feel free to participate or not.

Now for the next fabulous award, from the equally fabulous Kelly Siew @ Kelly Siew CooksThank you so much, I really was so happy and overwhelmed to be nominated, as her blog is equally as lovely!

So here goes again..

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you. Check!
  • Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere. See above..
  • Tell them 7 facts about yourself. (I did above, hope that counts, don’t wanna bore you with yet more!)
  • Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award. With pleasure!
  • Post a comment on each of your nominees’ blogs telling them about the nomination. Sorted!
Check out these gorgeous bloggers and their Lovely Blogs..
  1. London Eats
  2. The Charmed Cupcake
  3. Pies and Cookies
  4. Shoreditch Bakes
  5. Linguistics and Cake
  6. Two Spoons
  7. Guilty Baked Pleasures
  8. Blackberries and Blood Oranges
  9. The World According to Mitzie Mee
  10. This French Farmhouse
  11. Iaspector
  12. Baking with Basil
  13. Daisy’s World
  14. London Bakes
  15. Eat Little Bird
Phew, that took  a while, apologies! Thank you again to those who nominated me, and congrats to all the other beautiful and lovely bloggers who I am enjoying at the minute!
Have a lovely day, Amy x

Bon Voyage!

Bonjour mes amis!

Still glowing, if only slightly tanned, and sporting a few nasty insect bites.. I am finally back home from 2 gorgeous weeks in France. My love affair with this beautiful country includes my passion for the language, which I am slowly perfecting, its culture and of course its delicious cuisine.

I visited the gorgeous city of Lyon, which I believe is like a smaller-scale Paris, it even has a mini Eiffel Tower (which is in fact a television mast) and the beautiful Cote D’Azur, staying in Cannes and Monte Carlo. It really was a holiday to remember..

I don’t recall every being properly hungry, food was on the agenda from start to finish. Of course I’m talking croissants, pain chocolat, oogling at little patisserie’s, the odd macaron, plenty of Orangina and piles of ice-cream and pizza! (Italian not French I know, hope they won’t mind)

My trusty Canon never stopped clicking, with a photo opportunity at every turn. French cities have an incredible ambiance which I can’t help but adore. They manage to be strikingly vibrant and alive, yet relaxed and at peace, all at once. The sophistication and glamour of the French Riviera also added an extra dimension, and made for great people watching sessions!!

Every little patisserie  and chocolatier shop window had me stopping and gazing like a little girl..

Cannes also boasts a large food market which I visited with my Mum on a sunny Saturday morning. It was awash so many bright and bold colours, and everywhere you turned there were row on row of fresh and yummy fruit, vegetables, flowers, meat, cheese and much more.I gazed on many varieties I had never even imagined existed, and was offered a piece of fried seaweed and jellied octopus.. unsurprisingly I didn’t take the plunge.

I also delight in the simple pleasures whilst on holiday in France. Kinder Chocolate, and French biscuits from a good supermarket. You can hold off your tarte tatin and millefeuille, these lovelies will keep me happy for quite some time. Yes I am well aware you can buy them back home, but I don’t. They’re much better eaten on holiday on the continent, where they belong.

I hope you had time to check out the collection of bakes which were the result of a mad dash bake-athon amid last minute packing before I left, I loved seeing all your comments come through (when I managed to find a free wifi zone) and I can’t wait to come up with some more yummies for you, inspired by my French adventures..

Lastly I shall leave you with the gorgeous Mr Pig, bought in a patisserie in the beautiful mountain town of Grasse. He hides a devilishly dark secret..

Sticky Banana and Dark Chocolate Bread

Go on, it’s practically good for you!

Sweet, sticky, gooey, this tea-time loaf is a serious crowd pleaser. Made from mushed bananas, honey, and rich dark chocolate it’s full of goodness, and lots of those thingys with complicated names. Antioxidants? Yess that must be it! Oh and honey is full of B Vitamins, and bananas are full of potassium (I actually revised rather a lot for my Home Economics exam as you can hopefully tell) So you see, it’d be rude not to..

Adapted from a recipe from the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie which had been gathering dust in my ‘must bake’ pile for quite some time. Finally I took the plunge! She refers to her plain banana bread as ‘pajama banana bread’ meaning it would be delicious eaten in your pjs for breakfast. However, for me I take this to mean it would be perfect to bake in your pajamas, (which may I mention is one of my favourite things to do). Sadly I did not bake this bread in my pajamas today, we had visitors over, and I don’t think they’d have appreciated me lounging round the kitchen in my nightwear, even if I did supply them with freshly baked bread afterwards…

Yet I was allowed this luxury a few days ago, and I awoke bright and early, sort of, and began a ‘pajama bake-athon’. Yaaay!

Start time: 10ish. End time: well after 2ish. A morning well spent I  thought, and I was excited to see the look on mum’s face when she arrived home from work and spied the delicious treats I had made… She strode into the kitchen, took one look at my ginormous cake and mountain of cupcakes, and declared ‘Amy, I’m on a diet!!’ (I refrained from shouting, SINCE WHEN?!?)

Aww well, less cake for her meant more for my brother and dad.. a.k.a the human hoovers.

Sticky Banana and Dark Chocolate Bread

*adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 c milk (or oil)
1 and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1 and 1/2 T lemon juice
1 T sugar
2 c tightly-packed, mashed banana
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.

2. In another bowl, combine all wet ingredients.

3. Add wet to dry, and fold in gently, don’t overmix.

4. Add chopped chocolate pieces and fold in.

5. Place in lined or greased loaf tin, and bake at 180oc for 5o mins.

*bread may start to brown on top, whilst still gooey inside, so cover in tin foil and continue to bake.

6. Leave to cool completely before serving.

Enjoy with a slather of butter, or simply plain if you’re trying to be truly good, and sip with a cup of coffee!

Enoy! x