Wednesday, 21 March 2012

A little baking and a little crafting....the way it should be......with some pumpkin in hand....baking was definitely on the cards!!!

First the Crafting - This week over at The Secret Crafters Saturday Challenge is Doilies are not just for cakes! I have had this stamp from Caron Vinson for ages but never used it....but she is perfect for the person I want to give this card to. All the pieces for this card have come from scraps in my stash, promarkers for the colouring and some glamour dust on the wings, and a fiskars edge punch for the border.

Waitrose sells cans of pumpkin puree (in the tin fruit section). It is a 400g tin jammed packed with pumpkin puree - no water etc, just pumpkin! I usually make a pumpkin cheesecake, but thought I would do something a little different this time......hence a pumpkin roll.

I made two of these.....because I was curious to see how they would turn out using different sugar and also after opening the can of pumpkin.....I didn't want to waste it!! In take 1, I followed the original recipe for the cake from here (minus the salt and using caster sugar) and did my own I don't like over sweet cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Roll - Take 1 - Using Caster Sugar
Dense texture......but very tasty.

The cake in take1 was rather dense with the caster sugar so I then had another go using granulated sugar but I twigged the recipe as below:

Pumpkin and Coconut Roll - Take 2 Using Granulated Sugar
Definitely better in taste and texture.


1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2/3 cup mashed pumpkin
4 heaped tablespoons coconut


200g cream cheese, softened

2 level tablespoons icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Grease a 15 X 10-inch swiss roll pan and line with baking paper which is just a bit longer and wider than the pan.

Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and eggs in a large bowl for about 5 minutes until pale and creamy. Use a large metal spoon to mix in the pumpkin and the coconut. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and tilt from side to side so the mixture evenly covers the pan including the corners. Bake for 14-15 minutes until springy to the touch.

While the cake is cooking, lay a large piece of baking paper out and sprinkle over some sugar. (This helps to stop the cake from sticking to the paper while it cools). When the cake comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down on the sugared paper. Gently peel off the baking paper from the cake. Working quickly, cut a shallow groove about one inch in on the short side of the cake closet to you. (this helps to roll the cake up better). Roll the pumpkin cake up with the baking paper, and leave to completely cool.

While the roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy. Once the roll is cool, unroll carefully and spread the filling over the cake. Roll the cake up once again. If there is time allow to does taste better if left to chill!!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cake pops - little balls of cake on a stick, enrobed in chocolate and smothered in sprinkles!! I love making these. They are a fantastic way of using up left over cake, or cake trimming.....or in my case I made a sponge in the microwave to make these!! You will need to break the cake into fine crumbs (a fork does the job) and then mix in some buttercream or ganache to make a cake dough.

These ones have coconut and lemon cake inside and are covered in white chocolate and glitter sugar....but the flavours for these are endless.....use any cake and enough buttercream, just to bind the cake together!

To make mine I used:


2 oz self raising flour
2 oz caster sugar
1 egg
2 oz butter or margarine
1 oz coconut
grated rind of a small lemon
juice from the same lemon

3 oz white chocolate melted
five tablespoons double cream


200g white chocolate (melted)

lollipop/cake pop sticks (made of paper)

To make the cake:

Mix all the ingredients together in a microwave proof bowl. Cook in the microwave on High for approximately 5 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool for a few minutes before removing from the microwave. Remove the cake and empty on to a plate. Using a fork, break the cake to form cake crumbs. Leave to cool.

When the cake is cool, make the ganache by mixing together the melted chocolate and the cream in a large bowl. Empty in the cooled cake and mix together. It should form a ball of cake dough. Wrap the cake in clipwrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight until firm.

To Make the cake pops:

Break of small pieces of the chilled cake and roll into balls. Place the balls onto a tray/plate.
Melt the chocolate and then dip the end (about 1 cm) of the sticks into the chocolate. Place a stick in each cake ball....the chocolate will help to secure the stick in the cake.

Chill the cake pops again for about an hour......or you have kids nagging at you....."are they done yet?"......... Stick them in the freezer until they are firm!!!

Dip each cake pop into the melted chocolate. Rotate the cake pop quickly a few times while holding upside down so any excess chocolate will drop off. Cover immediately with the sprinkles as the chocolate will set really quickly. A short glass will make the ideal stand for them to completely dry.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Wow Spring is just around the corner and the sunshine on the weekend was a nice treat! I decided to get some of the craft stuff out on the weekend and made a card......while everyone else was playing music!! I didn't have a design in mind, just went with the colours and bits and pieces I had left lying around (some from some recent wedding invitations). The background paper came free in PC Essentials magazine from Crafters Companion, the ribbons, lace, cardstocks, flowers and gems from my stash and the image is a Manga Stamp from Sugar Nellie. The heart is a stamp from Stampin Up (forgotten the name of the set) and I have handwritten the sentiment.

I am going to enter this card at the Dream Valley Challenges Blog as they have a female themed creation for their current challenge - although some of the cards from their design team is just amazing!!

Now on Saturday afternoon, after cardmaking and music session had ended...... we decided to go and get new school shoes for small son as it would be a bit wrong of us to make him wait until the term ended for new ones (poor feet). Having been out for about two hours, I get a call from our neighbour, asking if we were in. Having explained to her that we were out, she calmly told me that she had just noticed that our house keys were hanging out of the lock in the front door!!! Oh dear......I am glad that I was in the car, with the kids it wasn't to hard to work out who had left the keys in the door!!! Anyway our kind neighbour, walked across and removed the keys from the door, and kept them until we made a rather speedy journey home!

To thank her for her vigilance and because I was so relieved that everything was still left in the house......I baked her a dozen chocolate cupcakes which were iced and delivered to her door, as soon as they had cooled out of the oven!!!

These are the darkest moistest chocolate cakes, topped with a generous dollop of dark chocolate ganache and then a swirl of cooked flour vanilla butter cream!!

Cooked Flour Buttercream

8 oz granulated sugar
2 oz plain flour
250ml milk
175g butter softened

In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and the flour. Stir in the milk and then heat over a gentle heat, stirring all the time, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens to a thick sauce. (around 7 - 10 mins).

Pour the sauce into a large bowl, add any flavouring and colouring and allow to cool completely. When the sauce is cool, whisk in the butter, until the butter cream is thick and creamy.