Rainbow Layer Cake

2015-05-10 13.42.54

Unassuming and simple from the outside, but when it’s cut into it has the most amazing layers of colour. This cake really does have the wow factor!

I’d been wanting to make this cake for a long time but hadn’t found an reason good enough to actually make it. I waited long enough and the perfect occasion came around – Rien’s brother, Daarek’s birthday. I knew this would be the perfect cake for him and I wasn’t wrong! He is always so complimentary with my cakes so I wanted to step it up for him and make him a birthday cake that was a bit special.

2015-05-10 13.44.30

The inspiration for this recipe came from a lovely blog, Kerry Cooks. Her blog was the first place I remember seeing a rainbow layer cake that actually gave you a recipe to make the cake yourself. A lot of the American recipes  use a boxed cake mix. Her blog has some fantastic tips which I was able to use and adapt slightly to create my Rainbow Layer Cake.

You may look at this cake and feel slightly scared, but there is really no need to be! You need to make sure you have the right equipment and then you’ll be fine. To make this cake as easy as possible, I bought the Easy Cake Layer Pan Set by Wilton from Lakeland. I’m sure there are plenty of places you can buy them online. One tip if you do buy these cake pans; do not believe them when they say they are non stick! I stupidly believed that they were the first time I used them to make an ombre cake and ended up with some cake getting stuck to the pans. I recommend lining the tins with baking paper to prevent this from happening. On her blog, Kerry used disposable pans which you can find in lots of supermarkets and pound shops which is a great tip if you don’t want to buy any new equipment.

The cake pan set is for 5 layers, so the recipe below will make you a 5 layered rainbow cake. Each pan is 6 inches which I think is the perfect size for this cake seeing as you are stacking 5 layers of cake with lots of buttercream. It also means each layer isn’t too thick. If I were to make this cake for myself, I would use cream cheese frosting like Kerry did. However most people, including Daarek, prefer buttercream so that is what I used.

2015-05-10 13.42.41

You also need really good gel colouring to get the fantastic vibrant colours. The liquid food colourings you can buy in supermarkets just aren’t good enough. You need concentrated gel colouring which you can buy online or in shops like Lakeland and Hobby Craft. My favourite brand to use is Wilton because they have a great range of colours an can give you really bright colours without having to use loads of it.

When it comes to icing cakes I think it is definitely worth investing in a cake turntable. This allows you to smoothly turn the cake backwards and forwards when you’re decorating it which is a huge help! I also use a large off-set spatula to apply the buttercream to the cake holding it at a 90° angle. A spatula dipped in hot water and then dried is a great way of getting a smooth finish on your cake. There are lots of different techniques and ways people find help them, but this is what works for me.

What I like most about this recipe is this one cake mix will make enough for all 5 layers so you don’t have to faff around making different mixes. An obviously that it looks pretty amazing!

For the cake 
225g butter or margarine
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Line you cake pans
  2. Add the butter and sugar to your bowl and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time starting on a low speed and increasing it after each egg has been added. I find this helps incorporate the eggs better. Add the vanilla and mix again before finally adding the flour and baking powder
  3. Split the cake mix equally into 5 different bowls. I do this by weighing my mixer bowl when its empty and then taking this away from the weight when it has the finished cake mix in. I then divide this by 5. You can do it by eye but I prefer to be exact as this will help make even layers
  4. Colour each bowl of cake mix a different colour – I coloured mine red, orange, yellow, green and blue but feel free to use whatever colours you like. Start with a small amount of colouring as a little bit goes a long way. You an always add more and make it brighter but you can’t make it lighter again!

2015-05-09 14.34.04

  1. Pour each bowl of coloured cake mix into your prepared tins and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They’re done when a cocktail stick comes out clean

2015-05-09 14.50.54

  1. Allow the cakes to cool slightly in the pans before turning out onto a wire rack and let them cool completely

2015-05-09 15.45.03

  1. Once completely cooled, level the cakes so that they stack more evenly. I do this with a cake wire which allows you to cut a clean level line using a serrated wire. You can use a knife but I find this works better and reduces the risk of making a mistake! I set the cake wire to the height of the cake that needs the most cut off it to make it level. You’re looking to take the smallest amount of cake off to make the cake flat

2015-05-09 16.56.27

  1. Once the cakes are leveled, you’re ready for the buttercream!

2015-05-09 17.00.05

For the buttercream
420g unsalted butter
840g icing sugar
4 – 6 tbsp milk

  1. Mix the butter and icing sugar together until pale and smooth. Add enough milk until it is a smooth spreadable consistency
  2. Starting with the blue layer, place one layer onto your cake board and then add a generous layer of buttercream. Repeat with all 5 layers

2015-05-09 17.21.28

  1. Once all of the layers are stacked, it is time to apply the crumb coat. This locks all of the crumbs in place so that the final layer of buttercream is smooth and crumb-free. Do this by applying a thin layer of buttercream to cover the whole cake. At this stage it doesn’t have to look pretty. After you’ve applied your crumb coat, but in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for it to set slightly

2015-05-09 18.22.53

  1. Once the crumb coat has become firm to the touch, you can now apply the final layer of buttercream. Make sure you use quite a generous amount of buttercream and take your time!

2015-05-09 18.47.10

  1. You can decorate the cake however you would like. I chose to keep it completely plain on the outside and made some bunting to stick in the top

2015-05-10 13.37.23

Make sure you check out Kerry’s blog http://kerrycooks.com/easy-6-layer-rainbow-cake-step-by-step/

Apologies for the photos not being the best, I always find it hard to take photos of cakes I have made for people. And I can’t take my usual kit with me!

Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Strawberry Pavlova

2015-05-23 20.49.09

Marshmallowy in the centre with crisp and chewy edges piled high with whipped cream and delicious fruit. Now if that doesn’t scream perfect summer desert to you, I don’t know what will!

I decided to make a pavlova after a trip to Borough Market where I bought the most delicious looking strawberries. I instantly thought they would make a perfect topping to pavlova. It also meant I got to use the whisk attachment to my mixer which I have rarely used. Feel free to make this recipe by hand, but I would really recommend using an electric whisk if possible to avoid your arm seriously aching! Then you won’t be able to lift the fork to your mouth to eat it!

2015-05-23 20.50.09

I’d never made pavlova, or even meringue before, so I thought it was definitely time for me to try. Most pavlovas are topped with whipped cream and then a selection of fruit. You can choose a number of different fruit that work well together or lots of one type like I did here.

Usually when I bake or make desserts I make them for other people to enjoy too so Rien and I don’t end up eating it all. However with this pavlova, over a few days we managed to eat the whole thing! It was so delicious we kept going back for more and of course the strawberries make it healthy…I can definitely see me making this a number of times over the summer, I might even share it next time! I loved the crisp chewy outside of the pavlova mixed with the soft, melt in your mouth marshmallow centre.

6 egg whites
pinch of salt
270g caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
2 tsp cornflour

  1. Preheat the oven to 120ºC. Draw a 8″ circle on baking paper and turn it over onto a baking tray so the pencil won’t touch the pavlova

2015-05-23 16.39.05

  1. Whisk 6 egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form

2015-05-23 16.43.42

  1. Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time as this allows the sugar to disolve. Keep whisking until the egg whites are smooth and glossy with no trace of sugar

2015-05-23 16.48.09

  1. Carefully fold in the vinegar, vanilla and cornflour
  2. Dab a small amount of mix on each corner of the baking tray to secure the baking paper to the tray. Pile the mix onto the baking tray trying to keep inside the line. Shape it like a cake – you can either flatten the top for a more traditional look or spike the top for a dramatic effect

2015-05-23 17.00.04

  1. Bake in the oven for 1 to 1½ hours, you’ll know it it’s done by lightly tapping the top and it’s hard. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly open. Leave the pavlova to cool completely

2015-05-23 19.00.44

For the topping
300ml double or whipping cream
Strawberries – as many as you like!
2 tbsp sugar 

  1. Hull the strawberries and then put roughly half of them into a bowl. Gradually add the sugar, tasting as you go until the strawberries are the perfect sweetness. Put them aside for 30 mins or so

2015-05-23 19.55.14

  1. Whip the cream using the whisk attachment (or if you’re brave, by hand) until the cream is soft but holds its shape. If you whip for too long the cream will become over whipped and not look smooth and silky

2015-05-23 20.34.24

  1. Add the whipped cream to the top of the pavlova and spread out. The strawberries with the sugar should look glossy and have a thick syrup now. Add these on top of the cream and then add the remaining hulled strawberries

2015-05-23 20.50.26

I got the recipe for the pavlova here –  http://www.theinternetchef.biz/292/how-to-make-pavlova-new-zealand-style#sthash.cFUGO1qd.dpuf

Gym Bunny Mummy
Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Carnitas

2015-05-24 20.23.32I absolutely love Mexican food, it’s become my new obsession. And pork will always be my number one choice of meat.  Now I’ll be the first person to use a packet mix to season my fajitas for a quick and easy dinner (it’s one of my guilty pleasures); but you would be kidding yourself if you considered that authentic Mexican. So I started branching out using different chilli powders but came a little bit stuck when it came to looking for authentic Mexican recipes. A lot of them I came across seemed to be mixing different tins and spice mixes together which I’m sure can taste nice, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for.

For Christmas I asked for a book which I had read was meant to be one of the best for authentic Mexican dishes – Mexican The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arrote. It is a huge booked filled with different recipes from all over Mexico. Some of the ingredients aren’t going to be the easiest to come across, or may not necessarily appeal to you – grasshoppers and cactus anyone? You can find substitutes or similar alternatives for a number of ingredients though; for example the variety of fresh chillies aren’t readily available in the UK (well not where I live anyway!) so instead you can use dried chilles or chilli powders. Another simple alternative to queso fresco which is a common cheese in Mexico is feta. It is similar as is crumbly, slightly salty and is available everywhere.

I get my dried chillis, chilli powder and tortillas when at Borough Market from the Cool Chile Company stall. They sell a huge variety of Mexican cooking essentials. You can also order online from their website -http://www.coolchile.co.uk/

I really like watching Food Network; it is normally on in the background while I am writing blog posts. One program I like to watch is Diners Drive-ins and Dives (anyone else?) which is an American chef who visits restaurants around the country. I first heard of carnitas watching the program and thinking it looked delicious so I couldn’t wait to try it myself. People may think that Mexican food is all about spices and heat, but this recipe is far from that. It has no chillis in at all, instead has a delicious combination of herbs with a subtle orange flavour.

This recipe doesn’t require much effort at all but benefits from slow and low cooking which is perfect for a lazy weekend. This recipe definitely lived up to my high expectations! The pork was so deliciously tender it just fell apart. I served it with a tasty sweetcorn salad (recipe to follow) which added a little bit of chilli heat.

250ml vegetable oil
1.5kg pork loin cut into bite sized pieces
½ onion
250ml milk
zest of 1 orange
small bunch of herbs (e.g rosemary, thyme)
salt and pepper 
Flour tortillas to serve

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the meat and the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes until browned all over

2015-05-24 18.01.02

  1. Remove the onion and pour in the milk and 250ml of water. Add the herbs and orange zest and season with salt and pepper. Don’t worry it will look a little bit strange at this stage!

2015-05-24 18.16.01

  1. Reduce the heat to low and cook stirring occasionally for 1½ to 2 hours until the liquid has evaporated

2015-05-24 19.54.33

  1. Remove any herb stalks and serve immediately with warm flour tortillas

2015-05-24 20.24.04

 

 

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Pistachio & Vanilla Cake

2015-04-04 13.11.26

Light and fluffy sponge with the subtle flavour of pistachios and silky smooth cream cheese frosting.

I wanted to make a cake for my sister’s birthday and decided I wanted pistachios to feature as she loves them. I started looking online and found a few different recipes for pistachio cakes. I picked a Good Food recipe partly because the reviews said the final cake was tasty, but also because people had said how confusing the recipe was to follow and that ingredients had been missed out. It seemed a shame that if it was a good recipe, people may be out off making it because of a poorly written recipe. So here is my attempt at a clearer, easier to follow recipe.

20150404_153508

The original recipe had the cream cheese frosting and the also a praline topping. I don’t think this is an element my sister would have liked which is probably for the best seeing as the reviews weren’t very positive about that part! Feel free to give it a go yourself – here’s the original recipe http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1999/pistachio-praline-and-vanilla-cake

This cake is perfect for when you want to make a cake, but don’t want to spend hours making it and you want something a little bit more special than a Victoria Sandwich (even though they are tasty too!) I really love how the pistachios colour the sponge with flecks of pale green.

20150404_154043

For the cake
200g caster sugar
200g butter or margarine
4 eggs
150g self raising flour
100g de-shelled pistachios
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

  1.  Preheat the oven to 190ºC/fan 170ºC. Line two 8 inch loose bottomed sandwich tin with parchment paper
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Blitz the pistachios in a food processor until very fine and mix with the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add to the butter and sugar along with the eggs and milk and mix until combined

2015-04-04 10.32.29

  1. Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden and a cocktail stick comes out clean

2015-04-04 10.39.07

  1. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack and letting cool completely

2015-04-04 12.53.23

For the filling
200g full fat cream cheese
100g icing sugar
A few drops of vanilla essence
A few pistachios to decorate

  1. Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla essence together until smooth

2015-04-04 12.55.08

  1. As with all sandwich cakes turn one of the cakes upside down so the top is on the plate/cake board you are using to serve. Spoon half of the mixture onto the cake and spread out using  a pallet knife. Place the remaining cake on top the correct way up
  2. Spread the rest of the cream cheese mixture onto the top of the cake and sprinkle with a few pistachio nuts. I roughly blitzed these again so some were bigger than others

20150404_153619

I think there were a few jealous people in Nandos that day!

 

Gym Bunny Mummy
Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Rosemary & Salt Fougasse

2015-05-04 13.10.46

Freshly baked bread that doesn’t only taste amazing, but looks impressive too!

I wanted to  bake some bread but to Rien’s disgust, I didn’t want to make a normal loaf or rolls (He pouted and moaned throughout the whole process because he wouldn’t be able to make a sandwich with it). I remembered a type of bread I had seen on one of Lorraine Pascale’s programmes called fougasse and thought it had looked great so decided that would be perfect.

I have only made quite basic loaves or rolls before so I was keen to expand my skills and make a shaped loaf. Although this type of bread doesn’t require a great deal of skill, it does look impressive once baked.

Rien managed to get over the fact it wasn’t a loaf by the time the fougasse came out of the oven and couldn’t wait to try some. We let it cool slightly and then tucked in – it was delicious! The crust was only slightly crisp with the great flavour of rosemary and sea salt. The bread went perfectly with some meat and cheese which I think is a lovely weekend lunch. Its safe to say Rien wasn’t disappointed and said he would look forward to me making it again.

I love the flavours of rosemary and salt, especially with bread. The recipe I used had tomatoes and onions but I decided to go with rosemary and salt as I tend to have these most of the time, but feel free to add any toppings you like. For example I’ve seen fougasse recipes with chorizo which sounds delicious and I will be trying that soon! I got the recipe for the dough from Good Food http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/335608/red-onion-cherry-tomato-and-rosemary-fougasse. I look forward to adding new flavours to the dough now I know how easy it is! Feel free to try your own flavours, I’d love to hear how you get on.

For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
350ml hand-hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped rosemary

  1. Mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and chopped rosemary together. Add the water and oil and mix to form a soft dough

2015-05-04 11.07.52

  1. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. I tend to start it in my mixer with a dough hook and then finish it by kneading my hand. When pressed, the dough should spring back when it has been kneaded enough

2015-05-04 11.10.36

  1. Put back in the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or cling film sprayed with oil. Leave to rise for 1 hour
  2. Heat the oven to 240°C (220°C fan). Divide the dough into two and shape into long rectangles approximately 25cm long
  3. Place on a floured baking sheet and brush lightly with water. Cut one diagonal slash through the dough and then three slashes either side to give the dough leaf like markings. Open out the slashes slightly

2015-05-04 12.21.40

For the topping
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp rosemary leaves
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Scatter the salt over the bread. Dip the rosemary leaves in the oil to help the stick to the bread but also to stop them burning

2015-05-04 12.28.26

  1. Leave to rise for 15 mins, then bake for 15-20 mins until risen and golden brown

2015-05-04 13.10.58

Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Banana & Honey Muffins

2015-02-24 19.09.03

I always seem to have a few bananas that get forgotten about and end up getting a bit too ripe to eat. This is why I’m keen to find recipes to use them up! In my quest to find tasty, healthy muffins I looked in Lorraine Pascale’s A Lighter Way To Bake and came across her recipe for Banana and Honey Muffins. They were perfect as they were a healthy muffin that would use up my overripe bananas.

Out of all of the healthy muffins I have made, these are definitely the most moist as well being one of the lowest in calories. The bananas add the extra moistness without adding any unnecessary calories. Rien isn’t usually tempted by my healthy muffins, but he loved these. You really can’t tell that these muffins only have 176 calories each! Another great thing is that the mix makes twelve really big muffins! These are definitely one of my favourite muffins so far.

The recipe called for four bananas – one to go on the top. I only had three which is why mine don’t have the pretty decoration on top.

As with all of the muffins I make, they are perfect to freeze and then leave out to defrost overnight to make a great breakfast.

Makes 12 muffins
300g wholewheat flour 

1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
2 egg whites
200ml semi-skimmed milk
100g low-fat natural yogurt
50ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp honey 
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 overripe bananas

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan). Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a large bowl. Beat the egg and egg white briefly in a jug and then beat in the milk, yogurt, oil, honey and vanilla extract until smooth and completely combined
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry with as few stirs as possible until you get a wet, sloppy mixture

2015-02-23 19.31.49

  1. Roughly mash 3 bananas and gently fold them into the mixture

2015-02-23 19.32.49

  1. Divide the mixture into the paper cases. Peel and cut the remaining banana into 12 slices roughly ½cm thick and place one slice on top  of each of the muffins

2015-02-23 19.36.12

  1. Bake them in the oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

2015-02-23 20.00.50

  1. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before leaving to cool completely on a wire rack

 

Gym Bunny Mummy
Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Pork & Chorizo Meatballs

2015-03-04 21.27.10

This is a recipe that I made up one day. I had some pork mince that I had planned to use in a stir fry but Rien didn’t feel like that for dinner. Instead I decided to make pork meatballs and add some chorizo to make them a bit more interesting. They were really delicious and very versatile. They are great in a salad or cut up in a sandwich or wrap and taste great eaten both hot and cold. You could also make a tomato sauce and have them with pasta. Instead of shaping them into meatballs, you could make them into burgers which would be perfect for a BBQ.

I have made this recipe up so feel free to tweak it if needed to incorporate what you like and/or is in your cupboards. The below recipe makes twelve meatballs.

250g pork mince
30g panko breadcrumbs
40g chorizo
1 egg
¼ tsp ancho chilli powder
¼ tsp chipotle chilli powder
¼ tsp paprika 
Pinch of cayenne
Salt & pepper
Spray oil 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Put the pork mince in a bowl. Dice the chorizo and add to the bowl with the pork. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix until completely combined. If the mixture is too wet, add more breadcrumbs and if it is too dry add a little more egg. You want it to be firm enough to form balls

2015-03-04 19.07.14

  1. Pinch small golf ball sized pieces of the meat and shape them into balls using the palms of your hands

2015-03-04 19.10.17

  1. Spray a baking tray with oil and place the meatballs on the tray. Put in the oven for 20 minutes until they are golden and slightly crispy, turning half way

2015-03-04 20.01.10

 

Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Double Orange Cake

2015-03-07 18.18.52Deliciously moist cake that is light and fluffy flavoured with orange – perfect.

I first came across this cake when Mum and I visited Olney and had afternoon tea at a quaint little tearoom. They had a selection of home made cakes in a cabinet to choose from. Usually I would have been drawn to the rich chocolate brownies, but there was something about the Double Orange Cake that attracted both Mum and I.

The cake seemed quite simple, but it was really delicious. I liked it so much that when I got home I tried to look for the recipe online but couldn’t seem to find it anywhere. Rien surprised me by finding the recipe that the book was from and then buying it for me – Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. That book has become one of my favourite cookery books!

With the apricot jam, instead of having to worry about the lumps in it or sifting them out; Sainsburys sell an apricot glaze which is jam without the lumps specifically made for baking. Other shops may sell this too.

I used a 9 inch cake tin as I didn’t have an deep 8 inch tin at the time. If you use an 8 inch then yours will be a little thicker than mine. My lovely Mum has now bought me a deep inch cake tin so there is nothing stopping me now!

This cake really is delicious and I think everyone should make it! I think it is perfect for Spring/Summer when you want something light and fresh.

For the cake
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
175g self raising flour
1½  level tsp baking powder
Grated rind and juice of one large orange

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C. Grease a 20cm (8 inch) deep round cake tin and line with baking parchment
  2. Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl and beat until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the cake tin, level the surface and bake for 35 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean

2015-03-07 13.17.28

2015-03-07 13.22.06

  1. Leave to cool in the tin for a while before turning out of the tin. Allow to cool on a wire rack

2015-03-07 13.59.16

For the topping
2 tbsp apricot jam
100g icing sugar
Finely shredded rind and juice of ½ orange

  1. Measure the apricot jam into a small pan and gently warm through. Brush over the top of the cake

2015-03-07 17.29.03

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in enough orange juice until you have a pouring consistency. Pour over the cake and gently spread out with a pallet knife

2015-03-07 17.38.06

  1. Leave to set and then decorate with the shredded orange peel

2015-03-07 18.10.09

2015-03-07 18.20.29

Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Pasteis de Nata (Portuguese Egg Custard Tarts)

2015-03-21 15.01.03

All-butter puff pastry filled with deliciously rich egg custard flavoured with vanilla is my idea of heaven – I love these!

I don’t like custard. Well I didn’t until I tried one of these! Rien’s Aunt made these at Christmas and I was reluctant to try one as I’ve never had custard and liked it before. I am incredibly glad I tried one, they were absolutely amazing. The pastry is flaky and buttery which goes perfectly with the creamy, thick egg custard.

I knew I wanted to make these for my Mum because she likes English egg custard tarts so these are perfect for her. I decided to make them for her birthday so I had a few months to wait before I made them! Since then, I have seen Patesis de Nata everywhere! They were featured in April’s issue of Good Food and were the cover recipe on Delicious. So by waiting and making these now I am right on trend!

Although both Good Food and Delicious featured a recipe, I knew I was going to use the recipe Rien’s Aunt, Carol, had given to me because I knew they were delicious. She found the recipe from the Guardian which was featured as Lucian Freud’s favourite breakfast dish. The recipe can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/25/lucian-freud-custard-tarts-breakfast-champions.

This recipe featured a couple of firsts for me; all-butter puff pastry and vanilla pods. The all-butter puff pastry was a little bit harder to work with than usual puff pastry because it started to almost melt whilst working with it due to the high butter content. So try to handle it as little and quickly as possible. The vanilla pod added a fantastic flavour which couldn’t have been replaced with vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and I was excited to finally use it.

2015-03-21 15.00.22

I went into making these having no idea what I was doing and only having a fairly brief recipe to guide me. A couple of times I had a few doubts and wondered whether they would turn out right. The main stage when I was a little worried was when I was pouring the custard into the pastry. On some of the tarts, the custard began seeping out so I thought these would not turn out very well. When I took them out of the oven though, I couldn’t even tell which had been the problem tarts!

One tip I would advise is when pouring, use a jug! When I was pouring the warmed cream into the egg yolks I thought it would be fine to pour from the pan – it wasn’t. If you’re anything like me, it will be far easier, and quicker, to use a jug whenever you’re pouring.

When the finished tarts first came out of the oven, they did look good but I remember thinking they didn’t look as good as Carol’s. I left them to cool and when I came back to them, the custard had settled and almost sunk down a little bit and I was very happy to see they did now look like Carol’s! So don’t panic if yours look slightly different when they first come out of the oven, they should settle and look amazing!

My Mum said these reminded her of when we were on holiday in Portugal and had Pasteis de Nata and that these were just as delicious. A couple of weeks before I made these, I went to Nandos with a friend and had one of their Pasteis de Nata. I am very pleased to say that these are far better than the ones in Nandos – don’t take my word for it, try them yourself!

If you manage to control yourself and not eat all twelve at once, store the in an airtight box. Heat them for approximately 20 seconds before you want to eat them, it definitely makes a difference and they will be as delicious as when they were warm from the oven.

Makes 12
320g pre-rolled all-butter pastry
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
200ml single cream
250ml whole milk
½ vanilla pod
Spray oil for greasing
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray and put in the freezer
  2. Take the pre-rolled pastry straight from the fridge and dust with icing sugar. Roll along the longest side into a tight log and cut into 12 sections

2015-03-21 10.20.14

  1. Dust each section with icing sugar and roll flat until it is roughly 11cm across. Push each round into the muffin tray, it doesn’t have to be flat around the edges as they are meant to have folds in the pastry. Put the tray in the fridge

2015-03-21 10.27.29

2015-03-21 10.44.45

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar until creamy. Mix the cornflour with a splash of milk and then whisk into the egg yolks. This looks exactly like something we used to play with as a child, its a liquid until touched and then it turns solid. You’ll know what I mean when you get to this stage!
  2. Heat the cream and milk together in a pan along with half a vanilla pod with the seeds scraped out, until almost boiling

2015-03-21 11.06.47

  1. Remove from the heat and fish out the vanilla pod, then whisk slowly into the yolks
  2. Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently for three minutes, stirring continuously
  3. Pour into the pastry cases and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and dark spots appear on the custard

2015-03-21 11.20.52

  1. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Best eaten warm

rien

 

Gym Bunny Mummy
Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Creme Egg Cupcakes

2015-03-22 16.13.13

Delicious chocolate cupcake with a gooey Creme Egg hidden inside – the perfect cupcakes for Easter!

Easter is such a great time to bake, you can make anything Easter themed by just adding a mini egg to it! This year I have mainly been making these cupcakes and mini egg fridge cake. Like usual I gave up chocolate for lent which has not been fun as I’ve had a couple of orders for chocolate cake with ganache and even more chocolate on top.  Making these and smelling the chocolate was hard, but I managed to make them without even licking the spoon!

I read somewhere (I can’t find/remember where) from someone who had made similar cupcakes using Creme Eggs that lying the Creme Eggs down horizontally is the way forward. I assumed you would place them vertically so the egg was upright, but this makes the egg less stable so it can wobble all over the place.

These cupcakes are simple to make and have a wow factor with the Creme Egg hidden inside.

For the cupcakes (makes 12 large cupcakes):
4tbsp water, boiled
40g cocoa powder
3 eggs
175g unsalted butter
165g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC and line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside
  2. Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl and add the boiling water. Mix until it forms a thick paste and then add the remaining cake ingredients. Mix until combined

2014-12-03 20.25.01

  1. Fill the cupcake case roughly ¼ full. Smooth out using a spoon and then place a mini Creme Egg horizontally lying down in each case

2015-03-31 19.02.05

  1. Top with the remaining cake mix and bake for 10-15 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating

For the frosting:
140g softened butter
280g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk

  1. Beat softened butter and icing sugar together
  2. Gradually add the milk until it becomes smooth and quite thick – you may not need all of the milk
  3. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes

You can use a full sized Creme Egg if you would like but obviously this would mean it is more Creme Egg than cupcake! If you want to make them even more chocolatey you could make chocolate frosting.

When I made these the first time, I only put a small layer of the cake mix on the bottom before adding the Creme Egg. As you can see, the Creme Egg was quite close to the bottom of the cupcake. The next time I made them, I filled them roughly ¼ full as I image this would make the Creme Egg closer to the middle. There aren’t any photos of these unfortunately as I made them for an order so couldn’t start cutting into them!

2015-03-22 16.10.36

Feel free to share with your friends...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestEmail this to someoneShare on Google+