Victoria Oozing Jam and Cream Sponge

Friday, 28 June 2013

After making several kinds of cupcakes and cookies from pre-made baking mixes in the past, I was yet to bake a cake from scratch and it was definitely on my 'things I really want to do' list. I adore afternoon tea; calmly sipping on tea without a care in the world surrounded by pretty traditional vintage cakes. So I decided that baking a classic Victoria sponge cake from scratch would a fun and messy activity and hopefully result in a perfect sweet treat for the weekend!

My boyfriend and I used a BBC Good Food recipe which consisted of these ingredients:
For the cake...
200g caster sugar
200g softened butter
4 eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
Icing sugar and strawberries to decorate

For the filling...
 100g softened butter
140g icing sugar
340g strawberry (or raspberry) jam

After pre-heating the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and greasing two sandwich tins (ours weren't quite the required 20cm), throw all of the cake ingredients into a bowl and mix until you have a smooth batter.

As we knew we would have spare batter due to our smaller tins, we decided to also make two cupcakes. 

Bake for about 20 minutes until lovely and golden, then leave them to cool completely whilst you prepare the icing. It was tricky to get the sponges out of the tins and onto a cooling rack but they amazingly didn't fall apart!

The messy part... Beat the softened butter until it's creamy and then add the icing sugar. When using an electric mix be prepared for icing sugar to fly everywhere. Spread the butter cream onto one sponge and top with strawberry jam or spread the jam onto the other sponge and squish the sponges together. Feel free to spread lots of jam on the sponge to create the 'oozing jam and creamy' effect, you won't be able to resist a slice.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and place strawberry halves on top for decoration. It's meant to be cut into 10 slices but it depends how much of a piggy you want to be, I know our slices were huge!

And there you have it, a surprisingly simple but not so surprisingly yummy Sunday afternoon dessert. The start of my love for baking...

Brick Lane Market

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

 If you haven't been to Brick Lane Market, you need to get down there right away!

Open every Sunday from 9am-5pm, Brick Lane Market in Shoreditch (nearest tube Aldgate East) is packed with stalls selling all kinds of food, clothes and bric-a-brac creating a lively atmosphere. We decided to take a Father's day trip to London after my Mum and sister had been to the market last month and loved it. The market is inside a big building with picnic benches, so it's the perfect day out when the weather is a bit on the gloomy side.

I was instantly drawn to the Pina Colada stall... Served in a pineapple, a simple but great exotic idea to make you feel like you're on a beach!

I'm not sure if there was actually any rum in these drinks, but the juice was thick and yummy.

The market has such a variety of food, from Chinese and Indian to crepes and cupcakes. It all looked and smelt amazing!

We started off with some spring rolls, crispy chicken and vegetable samosas selected from different stalls and then made our way onto the curries. I had a chicken curry with chickpeas and rice which was really tasty, but I just couldn't finish it all! The takeaway pots may not look like they have much in them but this regular size was crammed full, we know not to fill up on juice and starters beforehand. We clearly got too excited...

The market also has lots of stalls selling unique clothes, jewellery, posters etc. with a vintage market downstairs. I purchased a Levi's denim jacket for £25 and there were so many to choose from.

I just had to buy it...

My vintage cupcake heaven!

As our bellies were still too full to manage dessert so we took away a homemade cupcake each as they looked too scrumptious to resist. Before making our way home, we visited Petticoat Lane and Old Spitalfields as they were just a short walk away and then we were all marketed out.

Rocky Road Popcorn Bites

Saturday, 8 June 2013

My Mum's been working really hard at work so I decided to treat her to something homemade and yummy with chocolate, every female's best friend. I wanted a quick and easy recipe, so I went to our kitchen 'cupboard of goodies' to search for possible ingredients. I found plain chocolate, mini marshmallows and popcorn. Chocolate and marshmallows scream Rocky Road, so I thought popcorn would be a perfect sweet and crunchy twist on the more traditional Rocky Road with biscuits or Rice Krispies. 

A fun, quick and simple treat to make with only 4 ingredients:
80g plain chocolate
45g (small bag) Butterkist Light Toffee Popcorn
Mini marshmallows

They are roughly 100 calories each when split into 6 squares (inaccurate I know, it was a spontaneous decision to throw these ingredients together).

Start by melting the plain chocolate...

Once the chocolate has fully melted, add the popcorn to the bowl and quickly coat the popcorn. Pour the mixture into a greased tray and top with as many mini marshmallows as you like (I found that greasing a tin foil lined tray allowed the mixture to be peeled off easily once set). Oh and feel free to lick the bowl!

I also added a few strawberry chunks on top to give this yummy treat a summery feel. After the mixture has been placed in the fridge to cool and set for over an hour, it can be broken into 6 squares.

Then you can indulge in your crunchy chocolate bites, enjoy!