2014 {A Review}

So, it’s been a while…..

I wasn’t sure how to write my first post of 2015, after all, it has been a while since I last updated my blog(!)

I decided the best way to ease myself back into the blogosphere and update you all on the last 5 months, was to post a (photo) review! Ever so slightly indulgent, but, I’m excited!

2014 was filled with so much love, my little heart could burst! We experienced 3 amazing adventures; Budapest, Israel and New York (!), Dave proposed ❤ (I said, yes!), we bought our first ever home together (yes, the search finally ended!), I was reunited with my uni girls after 14 months apart, we celebrated the births of our friend’s babies and attended 3 utterly perfect weddings! I know it’s uncouth to brag, but…..wow, what a year.

I promise, promise, promise, that you will get a recipe tomorrow!

For now, I hope you enjoy our little 2014 photo college below ❤ they are in no particular order – I think it’s more fun that way!

P.s……spot the Ghostbuster!

 

I hope you all have a wonderful 2015 ❤

Love,

S xx

 

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Our Engagement!

Just wanted to stop by and share the news with you all!

Dave popped the question on Saturday and I said YES! 🙂 It was all very romantic and took place in Roundhay park! We drank champagne in the rain and unbeknown to me, our lovely friend Matt was taking pictures of our happy little occasion! Haven’t seen them yet but they should be interesting! ha! 🙂

Very very excited! 🙂

Engagement

Queen of Hearts ♥

IMG_2832This week I really just wanted to have a bit of fun with my baking – I wanted to do something different and have a little play around! 🙂

I decided on these scrummy treats, partly because I love Jammy Dodgers and partly because its the run up to Valentine’s Day! Even if you don’t have love for Valentine’s day itself, you still have love for Jammy Dodger’s, right?!

 

With these, I especially love how the jammy dodgers look at the bottom of the muffin cases when they come out of the oven 🙂

These cupcakes are pretty much cup-muffins, huge and very very sweet, not for the faint hearted! They look pretty though and will (hopefully) impress your friends and family 🙂 Give them a whirl and let me know what you think!

So….here’s the heads up – some bits worked, some bits need…..a little improvement! I’m ok with this, as the saying goes – we learn from our mistakes! I was really happy with the cakes in general but when it came to the icing it was far too soft! Forgot the golden rule of not adding too much ‘liquid’ and so completely threw the mixture off when I added the jam in one go!

I managed to sort of save it and later found this really helpful hints and tips website for thickening different types of icing….

Anyway, to the recipe!

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Ingredients:

For the sponge:

18 Muffin cases
110g unsalted butter – at room temp
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
120ml semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Full sized Jammy Dodgers

For the topping:

110g unsalted butter – at room temp
60ml of semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 tsp of vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
200g raspberry jam
Mini Jammy Dodgers (for decoration)

Recipe:

1. Place a jammy dodger ‘heart down’ in to the bottom of each of the muffin cases.

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2.
 Preheat your oven to 180c or 160c (fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tray with the jammy dodger filled muffin cases.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes between each one.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the self raising and plain flour and put the milk in a jug with the vanilla essence.

6. Add 1/3 of the flours to the butter and sugar mixture, beat well. Add in 1/3 of the milk to the mixture and beat again. Repeat until all flour and milk have been added.

7. Carefully spoon the mixture in to the muffin cases – making sure they are about 2/3rd’s full.

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8. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. A skewer should come out clean after being inserted in to the middle of each cake.

9. Remove from oven and leave cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.

10. Once the cakes have cooled – use a shaped cake plunge, or a knife to cut a small hole in to the middle of your cupcakes. I used a heart shaped one.

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11. 
Fill the holes with strawberry jam

Tip: I find it easier to pipe the jam in – makes it a little neater! :)

12. Using a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar until smooth.

Remember: Sift in the icing sugar

13. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

14. Gradually add in the 200g of raspberry jam

Tip: This is definitely where I went wrong – try adding the jam in a tablespoon at a time….you will soon know if you have the right consistency. It needs to be thick enough to pipe properly. Why not watch this video 🙂

15. Spoon the mixture in to a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes as desired.

16. Add a mini Jammy dodger to the top of your cakes and devour! 🙂

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Love S & P x

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Simple Engagement Cupcakes

IMG_2738Recently, two very lovely friends of mine, Kate & James got engaged! Congratulations!

During a lovely little family trip to Centre Parcs, James got down on one knee and popped the question in a beautifully fairy light lit part of the forest! Swoon! ❤

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We had the lovely pair over for dinner at ours on Saturday night and Dave cooked an amazing dinner. To start we had, Jamie Oliver’s Camembert stuffed with garlic and rosemary, followed by Tom Kerridge’s slow roast shoulder of lamb with boulangère potatoes and for dessert I had knocked up some cute engagement themed cupcakes!

I decided to keep it simple as we had so much rich, french food on the menu and I didn’t want to overwhelm our guests with mountains of food!

I stuck with my standard vanilla cupcake with strawberry jam in the centre – my new favourite cupcake addition – and a plain vanilla butter cream (from the Primrose Bakery book) before decorating with red icing hearts (that had been cut a good few hours before decoration to allow them to stiffen) and haribo ‘engagement’ rings!

I really wanted to cut the letters ‘J’ & ‘K’ out of black icing but couldn’t find my cutters 😦 Its one I will try next time though, think it would have added a bit more of a personal touch 🙂

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Ingredients:

For the sponge:

110g unsalted butter – at room temp
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
120ml semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

For the topping:

110g unsalted butter – at room temp
60ml of semi skimmed milk – at room temp
1 tsp of vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
Haribo star mix
Red icing

Recipe:

1. Roll out your red icing and using a heart shaped cutter, cup out the required number of hearts needed for your cupcakes.

Tip: The longer you can leave the hearts to dry and stiffen, the better – preferably over night.

2. Preheat your oven to 160c and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes between each one.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the self raising and plain flour and put the milk in a jug with the vanilla essence.

6. Add 1/3 of the flours to the butter and sugar mixture, beat well. Add in 1/3 of the milk to the mixture and beat again. Repeat until all flour and milk have been added.

7. Carefully spoon the mixture in to the cupcake cases – making sure they are about 2/3rd’s full .

8. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. A skewer should come out clean after being inserted in to the middle of the cake.

9. Remove from oven and leave cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool.

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10. Once the cakes have cooled – use a shaped cake plunge, or a knife to cut a small hole in to the middle of your cupcakes. I used a heart shaped one.

11. Fill the holes with strawberry jam

Tip: I find it easier to pipe the jam in – makes it a little neater! :)

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12. Using a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar until smooth.

13. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.

14. Spoon the mixture in to a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes as desired.

15. Decorate by placing the red icing heart and a haribo ring on to your cupcake!

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Love S & P x