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Today i was very excited to be baking as it was my first time making dairy free cakes, I already bake gluten free but last week decided to try out a dairy free diet too. To be honest I was not sure what to expect but in the end they just tasted pretty much like regular cupcakes which is great and to those unaware of what they are made of would unlikely taste the difference.

I used my basic cake recipe [link] but used ASDA gluten free flour and Pure which is a sunflower based dairy free butter/spread. As a topping I heated up some lemon juice with sugar then poured on the cupcakes while still warm.

That's it, that's all my Christmas practice baking done, no more photos until after Christmas. Sorry for the rush job on this photo, I haven't got the time at the moment to be taking lots of pictures.

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Sometimes you just can't beat the simple things in life. There's nothing quite like some quick homemade rustic goodness served fresh from the oven, all warm and comforting just waiting for a nice helping of butter to slightly melt and ooze with the added sweetness of some jam to satisfy a slight hunger in the afternoon or any other time of the day for that matter.

I used the recipe from a cookbook I have but I know I can find better so will be using this one next time from the BBC if anyone is interested in having a go [link] if you are gluten or lactose intolerant just swap the ingredients for the flour or milk you normally use.

It has been a long time since seeing scones presented this way, a very common thing in old tradtional bakeries when i was a child now replaced by the cut out version.

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Vanilla sandwich sugar cookies with a strawberry jam filling dusted with icing sugar.

They taste amazing. Maybe even the best sugar cookies I have ever made.

This was just a small part of an epic cookie baking session with my kids, we ended up making so many different things and had so much fun that I didn't even get a chance to take any photos of them baking! Instead I had to wait very early the next day to take photos which is why the lighting is not at it's best, I guess it's a good excuse to bake them again though to get a better photo.

As always for sugar cookies I used this wonderful recipe from the BBC as it is the only recipe of the many I have tried to keep it's shape so well while baking. [link]



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A biscuity base, a hidden layer of strawberry jam, a simple no bake Philadelphia cheesecake, strawberry jello and a sneaky treat of a dark chocolate heart you can just about see underneath the jello.

Oh my goodness after working with so much pink recently it is wonderful to work with red, one of my favourite colours.

I love cheesecake so I am always trying to find new ways to serve and present it.


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Strawberry jam filled muffins with white chocolate ganache and slices of strawberry.

For Christmas I gave my eldest daughter, aged 6 her own recipe book (Got to start them young!) We had some strawberries given to use one day (I don't buy then out of season normally as imported strawberries are not that great but we had to use them) so Sarah asked to make strawberry muffins from her book.  We didn't have the ingredients for butter cream to glue the strawberry on top so I made some white chocolate ganache instead.  I was going to let it cool and set up a bi before adding to the muffins but the kids got impatient and wanted to add it straight away!
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So many raspberrys and strawberrys to use up! Don't worry i only have one summer fruit thing to photograph then i will be going back to the chocolate!

strawberry and raspberry loaf cake drizzled with white chocolate and served with strawberry and raspberry coulis.

The most moist cake i have ever made! Normally a loaf cake takes me about 30 minutes or so to bake but because this had so much fruit in and was so juicy it took about 50 minutes just so it would hold it shape!

I have never made a sauce/coulis before, i didn't use a recipe i just made it up as i went along. In a small pan i bought a little water to the boil, added some chopped strawberrys and raspberrys then added some sugar to taste. Once the fruit had stewed for a time and was nice and soft i blitzed it all up in the food processor. I could have passed it through a sieve to be poncey but i didn't want to waste anything.



recipe


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Orange sponge cake fingers on sticks with melted white chocolate, various sprinkles and Cadbury Flake pieces.

I hate leftovers so today decided to use these off cuts of cake to make some cake fingers with the kids. It was great to get the kids involved in baking and decorating. My youngest helped whisk the sponge mixture but got a little annoyed when the mixture stuck to the whisk and managed to flick it all over herself. Both kids were a little less messy when it came to adding the sprinkles and seemed to add more sprinkles to their mouths than the cake.

The funny thing is, we spent so much time with the off cuts of cake and made so much of it I never got around to making the cakes I was planning on decorating today, instead I had to freeze the main cake so I can continue with my original plan another day.

Cake Recipe


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Peppermint Creams coated in dark chocolate! Tasty, quick and easy treats that are just perfect for making as Christmas gifts which is exactly what I'm going to be doing this year.

This was so much fun and making the peppermint creams, rolling it out into a sausage shape and slicing it only took me about 10-15 minutes! That simple and no baking involved! Brilliant! Obviously it took a little longer to coat in chocolate but you don't even have to coat them at all if you don't want to. Either way make sure you leave them out over night on some greaseproof paper before bagging them else they will stick together. As you can see by the photo i will be wrapping handfuls of the peppermint creams in small cellophane bags tied with ribbon which along with coating the peppermint creams in chocolate and using water instead of cream as the wet ingredient should help keep them nice and fresh for a week or so.

FAQ
:bulletgreen: Icing Sugar=Confectioners Sugar
:bulletgreen: 250g = 2 cups i believe (correct me if i'm wrong)
:bulletgreen: Don't like peppermint? Then simply replace it with other flavours/essences such as orange, lemon, strawberry etc, etc and just change the colour to match.
:bulletgreen: If your chocolate over cooks and goes a little gritty and lumpy add a touch of vegtable oil to help loosen and bring the chocolate back to a usable consistency.
:bulletgreen: How many peppermint creams you make depends on how big you make them, I make tiny ones therefore make loads.

Another idea of how to present them

Apologies for the double watermarking! Lots of problems with art thieves these days.

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A refreshing gluten free lemon zest sponge with a lemon zest butter cream.

One of my favourite ways to use up lemons is to put it in either a cake or lemonade, today I chose cake as it is still a little too cold for lemonade. Nothing in your face big and fancy just a nice, simple cake.

As always I used my basic cake recipe jsut added the zest of one lemon to the cake mix and a littlre more plus lemon juice to taste in the butter cream.

TIPS:
:bulletgreen: When grating lemon zest, do not grate the bitter white, it is not very nice so after a couple of grates check the lemon and rotate.
:bulletgreen: Taste test! It's easier to add more than take away so when making the butter cream add the zest and juice just a little at a time, taste test (with a clean spoon then wash before testing again!) then repeat. Try not to make it too strong though as remember you already have lemon in the sponge.
:bulletgreen: As with most homemade cake, best eaten on day of baking for maximum soft and moist taste and texture.


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Fresh from the oven light and fluffy gluten free blueberry muffins.

I have tried making muffins in the past but have yet to find the perfect recipe. I'm still on the look out for that recipe but these are definitely the best ones I have made so far, everyone enjoyed them, I am just a perfectionist!

Adapted recipe from the BBC website

INGREDIENTS
Makes 6-8 Muffins
110g/4oz gluten free or normal self raising flour
110g/4oz butter
65g/2Żoz caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
125g/4Żoz blueberries (fresh or frozen)

STEPS
1. Pre-heat oven 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs, mix thoroughly then gently add the flour.
3. Place a spoonful of muffin mixture into each muffin case. Add about eight blueberries per muffin.
4. Bake in an for 20 minutes, or until golden on top.

Best served fresh from the oven. Store in an air tight container for up to two days.


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