Birthday Tea Party

I can’t believe I’m 17!

I can legally drive!

This is all too crazy…

Okay, so I am now one year older than the last time we spoke.. weird huh? I have also settled into amazingly quickly into my new school, and am really loving it. The first day I came home with the biggest smile on my face, and knew things could only get even better! I found a lovely group of girls who have really looked after me and welcomed me in, and after only 3 days with them, we already feel like best friends! I am definitely excited for this year ahead now, although the hard work and studies have already studied, so it won’t all be fun and games.

Tuesday was my birthday. And with one extra day off school, I spent the day wisely. I baked! I had invited my three bestest friends over for tea, and I wanted to throw them the prettiest little birthday tea party, (and also just unleash the little girl inside me and have fun with pink and colourful pretties!) I’m not exaggerating when I say that I spent all morning and most of the afternoon in the kitchen. I literally never sat down.. you guys might know how this feels. I just went in circles around the kitchen, busying myself with different components of the evening’s spread.

I only had major disaster.. a rose meringue shaped one. But we’ll just not mention that one!

I successfully made:

  • Mini pink profiteroles
  • Rose Cupcakes
  • Cake Pops
  • Pink Popcorn
  • One enormous birthday cake!

I had the best night, sharing thoughts of our differing first days back at school with my girls, and just having a good catch up. I was overwhelmed with their gorgeous presents, and then left speechless when my Mum presented me with a huge baking themed hamper complete with cake tins and tea towels, when I thought I had received all my presents earlier that morning! I knew I would really miss my three best friends, but I know now that I have made the best decision to spread my wings, and make my own way in a different school. It was however, very poignant this morning, as I waited for the bus on one side of the street, and 15 of my closest friends from my high school were waiting on the other side of the road, in a completely different uniform, waiting to board a bus to take them in the opposite direction…

I hope to share with you over the next little while, separate posts showing each of the sweet treats I created for my tea party, and hopefully show how easily you can create something similar for yourself!

A x

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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

 

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

Raspberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

First off, I must warn you.. these cupcakes are exceedingly delicious

Tangy, tart raspberry and creamy sweet vanilla? A match made in heaven I’d say! These cupcakes were the only way I could think of combatting the dark greys clouds and howling winds that were making today feel a lot more like winter than the start of summer! Typical Northern Ireland weather really. The power cut out for 3 solid hours, which meant me and the little sis cuddled up and read… the perfect way to pass the time, no electricity required.

I really was surprised at how scrumptious these were, (blowing my own trumpet, I know) , but I rarely am amazed by something I’ve made myself, I’m so often in awe of other’s gorgeous bakes.

They were relatively simple to make, and would be perfect for afternoon tea, a summer party or simple, just because.. They were made extra special with fresh raspberries picked from my Mum’s raspberry patch in our garden, just the day before. There really is nothing like picking a fresh berry and popping it in your mouth, as it squeezes out its bright red juice.

I tried to recreate this wonderful moment, as these beauties also hide a secret. Cut them open and they ooze. Thick, sticky, pink raspberry goodness.. take a look!

Hiding this sticky substance inside does take some patience mind you.. good job I only had 7 cupcakes left by this stage! Though it is most definitely worth it, trust me, you’ll believe me when you try it yourself!

I apologise for using different measurements below, it’s just that these basic recipes I use so often, and one I inherited in one scale and the other in a different, and I simply know them in each their own way. If its not broke don’t fix it right?

Raspberry Cupcakes

*inspired by recipe from The Primrose Bakery book

125g butter, softened

150g self raising flour

125g sugar

2 eggs

2tbsp milk

1tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp good quality raspberry jam (I used a mixture of mashed up fresh raspberries and jam)

+ extra for inside of cupcakes

Vanilla Buttercream

3oz butter

80z icing sugar

2tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 160oc (fan assisted) and line a 12 hole cupcake tray.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, then sieve in flour, and fold in until well combined.

3. Mix in vanilla extract, and slowly add milk, mixing until of a smooth, creamy texture.

4. Fold in raspberry one tbsp at a time so that it is combined, but not completely mixed in. The aim is to have a sort of marbled affect, with streaks of raspberry through the mixture.

5. Divide into cupcake cases, and bake in oven for around 20-25, or until slightly golden on top, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into cakes.

6. Once cooled, using the end of a spoon or knife, make a small hole in each cupcake, and carefully spoon raspberry mixture into cupcake. Ease the mixture down using end of spoon, and fill till reaches top.

7. Cover in buttercream, and top with a fresh raspberry or decoration of your choice.

Sit back, seize the moment, and savour this cupcake! YUM!

If this is your first encounter with Snazzy Biscuits, then I only hope you have enjoyed your stay, that you now have a little smile on your face and are inspired to go find some raspberries and get baking!

Oh and please drop me a comment, I can’t wait to say hi!

Au revoir,

Amy xxx

Pink Sprinkle Cake

Ask me what I wanted for my birthday when I was 10, and I probably would have just asked for money. Lots of it!

To buy what you may ask?

Answer: BOOKS!

Yess, I have been a bookworm since before I was born my mum might say. I am thankful that she brought me up surrounded by them, and instilled in me a love of reading. Given birthday money at the age of 10 and I would have requested to be taken immediately to the nearest bookstore, to carefully search and scour the shelves for hours on end, returning home some time later with a huge smile on my face and a heavy bag laden with my newest treasures…

Though the world has changed…

Yesterday was my little sister Laura’s 10th birthday (Boy she has grown up so fast!) and for her birthday present, she asked for a Kobo e-reader. A blue one, because the purple were all sold out..

We have both fallen in love with it and I must say I am quite jealous, and may have to borrow it when she’s at school! Though I find it crazy how within my lifetime technology has changed so much, and who knows, one day how we might be reading books!

Though I am simply glad that she seems to have got some of my mum and I’s genes, and that she knows and loves a good book..

Birthdays are never birthdays without a cake, and so during a break in my exams, I whipped up this delightfully simple but delicious one layer cake using the recipe I previously posted, and covered it in lashings of Fluffy Vanilla Frosting…

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

(makes enough to cover one layer cake and a little extra.. if you manage not to eat the rest!)

8oz icing sugar

3oz butter

1-2tbsp milk

1tsp vanilla extract

Food colouring

1. Beat the butter until light and creamy using an electric mixer.

2. Sieve in icing sugar, and mix until well combined.

3. Add vanilla extract then milk gradually, whisking until of desired consistency.

4. Slowly add food colouring until you reach the desired intensity.

* I usually whisk my icing for around 6-7 mins altogether, which allows it to become extra light and fluffy, and makes a beautifully soft and delicious texture.

As recommended by the amazing Sweetapolita.

Seeing Laura’s little face light up when I showed her the cake was amazing… and  then she very quickly demanded we sing to her, and cut her a slice, immediately! (As only 10 year olds can)

Happy Birthday sweetie, from your big sister Amy!

Happiness is Homemade…

Ever wondered why those cakes you buy in the shop, just don’t quite taste the same as the one you carefully measured out, beat, whisked and spent all morning creating? One simple thing, LOVE. (and a few less additives and nasties too of course!)

A cake is a gift to someone, straight from the heart. A shared joy that many can delight in.

It can say ‘I love you’. ‘I’m wishing you the very best birthday possible’ or simple, ‘I love spending time with you’.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, eat Cupcakes as if you’ll die today.”