Kirstie Allsopp

Kirstie’s Gingerbread Champion 2015

Kirstie’s Gingerbread Champion 2015 – Kirstie Allsopps words, not mine.  You night have seen a little flurry of well wishes and congratulations recently on Facebook & Twitter.  I was blessed enough to go to Devon and live a waking baking dream…

“How did you get asked?” I get asked, quite frequently… I had a speculating Tweet from Raise The Roof Productions which is Kirstie & Phil’s production company..

Screenshot 2015-12-24 15.28.42

 

I replied in the positive, after all I didn’t expect it to come to much ‘spray & pray’ we call it in the Recruitment industry (in a previous life before children & gingerbread).

Screenshot 2015-12-24 15.34.31

Imagine my joyous horror when on dropping them a casual line to express interest but not believing it would transpire into hard graft, when I received a phone call from Paul McGinness on the team asking if I could be available to film. In Devon. At Kirstie’s house!  Eeep! I think I might have squeaked a bit too loudly down the phone…

“Send us your design”, said Paul… Ah, during a period of head scratching and pondering I got rather stuck on a Dickensian Christmas themed house or maybe a Hobbit type house – because they’re obviously so similar, naturally….

20151004_133700_resized

It came as no real surprise to me that I diverted from either fantastical creations (in my head..) and came up with a Lighthouse (“it has the word ‘house’ in it”, see?) They were looking for magnificent, original and surprising.  That’s the look I was going for anyway..  So I sent my doodle in at that was that.  Arrangements were made to go to Devon.

To Kirstie’s house.

Eeep! All over again.

It’s so teeny tiny my little picture here, so small the Christmas elves could have drawn it although it’s on A4.  I’ll post on FB and you can have a gander if you like.  I made a run-list of everything that had to be pre-made. The competition rules stipulated that gingerbread needed to be baked and decoration materials prepared then assembled during filming. So I made copious notes of scribbles which when straightened out resembled thus:

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas 2015 – Gingerbread House Competition

Everything listed below is hand made by me using techniques I would use in baking and sugar craft. I had help from Papa to make a bespoke wire baking cage to get the shape I need and cutting templates for the other elements.

20151007_132912

Now I can’t reveal how I finally gor the bake shape I needed but this was one of the abortive 8’s….

BASE & BODY:

Bottom / flat base of Gingerbread (Light)House circular baked and textured on one of our ceramic pizza stones

Body of GBLH banded in red and white. I made a handmade a cage to bake a specific shape in. The key was the bake shape so with the supervision of my crafty Pa we made a tapered tubular creation to make in / on… So it took 8 test runs to create the right shape – gingerbread gifts were duly bestowed upon classes and teachers at school, nursery, the folks, and friends and generally anyone who was in close enough contact to share the gingerbread love with.

20151007_132902

The lighthouse colours were typical red & white as seen in Happisburgh so the red was represented by the bake, textured with cake techniques and the white was what I piped in light sea green and pale blue wave’s swirled piping and white wave crests, a sugar craft tapestry technique finished with a damp brush.

20151012_183104

In the wave swirls were small hand crafted sea creatures crabs to represent Cromer, Small craft, Mikado Oars and spun sugar lobster pots with fondant lobsters to represent Sheringham as well as tiny starfish, shells, etc

20151012_183217

There were Porthole windows with ‘stained glass’ (melted crushed hard boiled sweets) with buttercream piped poinsettia in red & green and white royal icing piped octopus sucker marks

20151012_183122

Ultimately the Lighthouse was cited on a gingerbread cake with cream cheese and mini raffia cobblestones – super yummy and bequeathed to the crew on the designs demise….

20151012_183117

The Lamp room had a walk way around at top of lighthouse, with a base of GB with a Mikado walkway, topped with sugar pearl finials, stained glass uprights surrounding the lamp (rice paper, white jelly bean & edible glitter) one door/window left open to peek in and see the lamp.

20151012_183144

20151012_183128

To top it off I used 2 small battery packs of mini fairy lights illuminating under the walk way, lamp room and under eaves of cottage

In the keepers cottage there were sweeties on the roof and porthole windows with fondant candles inside, poinsettia at the window frames and little fondant shutters and an RNLI motif over the door of the keepers cottage. There was a ‘Flake’ log pile by the side of the cottage & GB cookie Christmas tree decorated with pearls, glitter and sweeties – a nod to Holkham Hall each year.

IMG-20151012-WA0002

Sugar ‘sand’ and snow, fondant/sweetie pebbles and ‘ice’ for to represent our beautiful coast in winter and all elements were edible and handmade (excepting the 2 x mini fairy light packs and flower wire).

The Actual Making:

Little round gingerbread porthole windows were crafted with melted Glacier Mints; the ones for the Light room had flower wire struts to strengthen the design. In filming they were adhered with caramel (which Kirstie helped stir – if it went wrong I had my beady eye on Allsopp!).

The filming on the day was stop / start for the production crew but it was straight onto the moon for us beavering away with sugar, biscuit and more sugar.

Until lunchtime I didn’t hold out much hope for it looking like the image I had in my head – one of the things I love about my work is that I feel like a 3D printer sometimes, I think of a thing and transpose it on cake. This is how I felt about this structure once I knew how it was going it HAD to be built. So prior to midday break it was ok but not wildly enveloping me – there was a long way to go. When we got back to filming it was all about the piping for me –THEN it started to come to life and it got Very Exciting on my table. I think I drove them nuts with ‘Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?’ and ‘My Lighthouse’

            20151012_183206

20151012_183158

When Kirstie and Richard Hunt came to judge we tootled off to tea and met some of the other contestants in other competitions going on around the grounds and house. There were puppies, school children from a local school, table centre piece builders (Lego man didn’t even tell his wife he was filming he kept it so secret!!).

Once we got back in there was a decent air of anticipation as Kirstie held the trophy and Richard of the Devon Scone Empire looked stern and bemused all at once?

And the Winner is …

20151012_183346

Eeep!!

IMG-20151012-WA0004

Kirstie had made some Appletinis then we all went home.

The other gingerbread houses were by some lil’ crackers, Rhian Mewis who came 2nd (by 4 points) and I have become lovely Facebook friends (hers is the fairy House)

20151012_182900

Rhian’s Fairy House from The Splendid Bakery

20151012_182950

Johns gingerbread house

20151012_183016

Annes Santa’s Workshop

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas was televised on Tuesday 8th December on Channel 4 – the link is the episode although there is a lovely upwards sweep of the camera on the first episode a few minutes in.

Happy days – all the contestants were amazing and it was a pure pleasure to meet some like minded bakers who are bonkers about gingerbread. Can’t wait until next year!

 

Apple Crumble Cake Recipe

Apple Crumble Cake Recipe – perfect pud or coffee morning cake

Beautifully moist spicy apple crumble cake recipe with a filling with af stewed apples and crunchy Crumble topping. A tasty treat for a coffee morning, winters dessert or just because with a brew.

When I cook this cake I’m reminded of the many time I baked with mum when I was little, sitting on the work top and smelling the cake batter as it wafted up for the mixer. It evokes warm memories of spices cooking, apples heating and licking the K beater on mums Kenwood Chef which had its own signature oily aroma as it was put through its paces. The kitchen was wood panel lined like a Swedish sauna (circa 1970s) and there was always a bustle of something good and home-cooked coming from it. Apple Crumble was one of the much loved dishes that came from the oven as well as mums Apple Cake. I’ve blurred a couple of mine and mums recipes here to combine a new family Winner at the table.

licking mixer

Ingredients

Cake batter

200g Butter

200g soft brown sugar

2 eggs

200g  self raising flour

 Apples

50g sultanas

2 rounded tsp ground cinnamon

2 large Bramley apples

bramley apple

 Crumble

100g Plain flour

100g Butter

100g Demerara sugar

50g oats

1 tbsp ground cinnamon (we like a lotta cinnamon although you can half this if you prefer)

Preparation

Apples

Address the Apples first, like ‘Howdy!’

Peel and core the apples, then slice to 2 or 3 mm thickness and place in a large pan

You have 2 choices at this point just to jazz it up

a) Sauté the apples, sultanas and cinnamon on a medium heat until soft but not mushy

Leave to one side to cool, there’s no need to add liquid

b) Slice finely and add a squeeze of lemon to stop them going brown and flatten cling film over them so the air doesn’t turn them

Cake

For the cake batter beat the butter, cinnamon and sugar till smooth and lighter in colour, this is when the air is incorporated to the mix

Lightly whisk the eggs to break up the albumen and add to the mix

Finally sift the flour to keep the mix light and airy

streusel cake

Assembly to oven

Prepare a cake tin by oiling and cutting a greaseproof non stick liner to fit

Carefully add 2/3 of the cake batter to the tin and level slightly

If you have chosen Apples A) gently smooth the apple mix over the batter without using lots of pressure

Or Apples B) layer the sliced apples and scatter sultanas and cinnamon

Add the final 1/3 of cake batter and level again

Bake 180oC for 25-30 minutes

20151117_105713

Crumble

When the cake is has been baking for 15 minutes, layer the crumble mix. This will bake and go golden on the top as the cake continues to cook for another 10 – 15 minutes.

Test the batter with a cocktail stick or skewer to ensure the dip is clean, if there is wet batter it needs another 5 minutes (and repeat if necessary as there is a lot of moisture)

Once removed from the oven let it cool at ambient temperature, not near an open window or this will cause condensation and make for a messy turn-out!

Great with clotted cream, custard or on its own with a strong brew.

 applecake

wedding show chat

Wedding Shows – Why You Should Go To One Copy

Wedding Fairs

There are many reasons to attend Wedding Shows and why you should go to at least one. As we dust the confetti out of our hair and settle into Wedding Show season this year’s brides we have baked for are remembered fondly for their beautiful, creative, sometime wacky creations and allowing us to make them.  A large percentage this year came from earlier Wedding shows. Here’s Buns’ Guide to Why, Where and a little bit more.

Image by Seahaze Photography

10985415_898897183473906_89246291176800049211_n

Who?

Looking on both sides of the coins we have Brides wanting inspiration and ideas or looking for something different or the next big trend. It’s a time when you can get up close and personal to look, feel or sample the items you covet most. You get to meet your potential supplier (I’m going to talk cake maker here, Hello!) you can strike up a working relationship and a cake compatibility conversation. It also works for us as suppliers, we can get a wider understanding of what makes a bride & groom tick, forthcoming trends and who is the decision maker ;0)

Cake by Buns of Fun, matching Posies by Flower30 and pictures by Chris Taylor Photography

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

What?

There will be butter creamed, ganached, piped and sugar crafted cakes galore with sampling to boot (and not s single calorie is noted at wedding fairs – how liberating!) there are acres of fabric for brides and bridesmaids with dresses a aplenty, shiny rings, headwear, crisp menswear, try a sip of something to toast with, swoon in delight at the array of colours, textures and scents from the florists. There’s so much to take it make a note of what you really want to look at but be adventurous and have a look and chat to everyone –if they can’t help they might know who to recommend. You can expect a high standard of showmanship from us as a WOW Team collectively. We’re here (there?) to meet you, talk about your ideas and have a look in that old diary to see if ultimately it’s all do-able.

cupcake partiespin5mint

Where?

Soon my pretties…soon… More to the point where are we? Norfolk Brides at Oxnead Hall in Aylsham is flying high on our cake-dar as it’s this weekend, Sunday 11th October. The first event for Norfolk Brides at this prestigious venue and we must say it looks stunning – very exciting! Next on my excitement indicator is The Most Unusual Wedding Fair at the gorgeous Godwick Great Hall, we were at this one last year and it rocked. We saw lots of very happy brides & grooms and brides & brides who have already tied the knot with Buns of Fun officiating the cakery. Early next year is The Most Curious Wedding Fair in Norwich March 20th, this beautifully creative and artistic culmination of excellent artisans in a very atmospheric ancient City church. Another high flier for filling the diary with amazing ideas and inventive couples. We can’t wait!

11992412_10153599066251543_1807355792_nTMUWF-2015-text-logo-badge-circular-200pxvelvet+johnstone_most+curious+wedding+fair

Why?

If we’ve made it to a Wedding Fair you can bet your bottom dollar we are fully insured for public and private events. If you’re getting married locally you’re probably attending a wedding show near you. You can be assured that if we’ve arrived with cakes / flowers / favours or whatever we are demonstrating you can be happy in the knowledge we’ll get to your event in one piece too. We’re fully insured with public liability, have a grade 5 award for Food Hygiene from North Norfolk District Council, Food Allergen trained by ABC Food Law, Norwich, attended Peggy Porchens piping master class, Belgravia, London and awarded High Commended for Beautiful Baking with EDP Food & Drink Awards. We’ve also appeared in numerous articles in print (Brides magazine, Wedding magazine, Your Perfect Wedding, Your East Anglian Wedding) and blogs worldwide  Burnetts boards, b.loved, Festival Brides, Want That Wedding, Wedding Sparrow, Wedding Bazaar

bloved badgefestival brides badgestyle me pretty2015perfect wedding badge WS_FEATURED_BADGE_Blush

Where ever you’re heading to for Wedding inspiration or to find your cake maker, florist or dress maker please check they are insured, have relevant accreditations or certificates you make sure you have the most fabulous stress free day of your life.

food standarsds EDP Norfolk FADA HCnfad-pink-tp-md

 

 

 

wedding show chat

Wedding Shows – Why You Should Go To One Copy

Wedding Fairs

There are many reasons to attend Wedding Shows and why you should go to at least one. As we dust the confetti out of our hair and settle into Wedding Show season this year’s brides we have baked for are remembered fondly for their beautiful, creative, sometime wacky creations and allowing us to make them.  A large percentage this year came from earlier Wedding shows. Here’s Buns’ Guide to Why, Where and a little bit more.

Image by Seahaze Photography

10985415_898897183473906_89246291176800049211_n

Who?

Looking on both sides of the coins we have Brides wanting inspiration and ideas or looking for something different or the next big trend. It’s a time when you can get up close and personal to look, feel or sample the items you covet most. You get to meet your potential supplier (I’m going to talk cake maker here, Hello!) you can strike up a working relationship and a cake compatibility conversation. It also works for us as suppliers, we can get a wider understanding of what makes a bride & groom tick, forthcoming trends and who is the decision maker ;0)

Cake by Buns of Fun, matching Posies by Flower30 and pictures by Chris Taylor Photography

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

Photo by Chris Taylor

What?

There will be butter creamed, ganached, piped and sugar crafted cakes galore with sampling to boot (and not s single calorie is noted at wedding fairs – how liberating!) there are acres of fabric for brides and bridesmaids with dresses a aplenty, shiny rings, headwear, crisp menswear, try a sip of something to toast with, swoon in delight at the array of colours, textures and scents from the florists. There’s so much to take it make a note of what you really want to look at but be adventurous and have a look and chat to everyone –if they can’t help they might know who to recommend. You can expect a high standard of showmanship from us as a WOW Team collectively. We’re here (there?) to meet you, talk about your ideas and have a look in that old diary to see if ultimately it’s all do-able.

cupcake partiespin5mint

Where?

Soon my pretties…soon… More to the point where are we? Norfolk Brides at Oxnead Hall in Aylsham is flying high on our cake-dar as it’s this weekend, Sunday 11th October. The first event for Norfolk Brides at this prestigious venue and we must say it looks stunning – very exciting! Next on my excitement indicator is The Most Unusual Wedding Fair at the gorgeous Godwick Great Hall, we were at this one last year and it rocked. We saw lots of very happy brides & grooms and brides & brides who have already tied the knot with Buns of Fun officiating the cakery. Early next year is The Most Curious Wedding Fair in Norwich March 20th, this beautifully creative and artistic culmination of excellent artisans in a very atmospheric ancient City church. Another high flier for filling the diary with amazing ideas and inventive couples. We can’t wait!

11992412_10153599066251543_1807355792_nTMUWF-2015-text-logo-badge-circular-200pxvelvet+johnstone_most+curious+wedding+fair

Why?

If we’ve made it to a Wedding Fair you can bet your bottom dollar we are fully insured for public and private events. If you’re getting married locally you’re probably attending a wedding show near you. You can be assured that if we’ve arrived with cakes / flowers / favours or whatever we are demonstrating you can be happy in the knowledge we’ll get to your event in one piece too. We’re fully insured with public liability, have a grade 5 award for Food Hygiene from North Norfolk District Council, Food Allergen trained by ABC Food Law, Norwich, attended Peggy Porchens piping master class, Belgravia, London and awarded High Commended for Beautiful Baking with EDP Food & Drink Awards. We’ve also appeared in numerous articles in print (Brides magazine, Wedding magazine, Your Perfect Wedding, Your East Anglian Wedding) and blogs worldwide  Burnetts boards, b.loved, Festival Brides, Want That Wedding, Wedding Sparrow, Wedding Bazaar

bloved badgefestival brides badgestyle me pretty2015perfect wedding badge WS_FEATURED_BADGE_Blush

Where ever you’re heading to for Wedding inspiration or to find your cake maker, florist or dress maker please check they are insured, have relevant accreditations or certificates you make sure you have the most fabulous stress free day of your life.

food standarsds EDP Norfolk FADA HCnfad-pink-tp-md

 

 

 

veganb3

Gluten-wheat-egg-dairy-free vegan Brownies! Honestly!

More and more I get asked for specialist baking or dietary cakes in the form of Gluten-wheat-egg-dairy-free vegan. At Buns of Fun it’s exciting when a request comes in for something like this and we’re more than happy to be able to stretch our apron strings and use a variety of ingredients and mix it up.Here at Buns HQ there are 2 small budding chefs who love to lick a bowl and are only too pleased to be asked to ‘mix this’ and ‘stir that’. It’s lovely to hear them discovering about food and it’s origins and having pride in producing (or ‘helping’ to produce) something that the whole family can enjoy.

If you have a specialist requirement or have little folks who like to wave a spatula, this is for you. Stand back and be prepared to be amazed by what shouldn’t really work – but actually does!

With only a soupcon of regular kitchen ingredients you can knock up a batch of this too-easy-to-make versatile pud’. Brill as brownies or served warm from the oven with custard or cream (other non dairy additions are available. ;o)

Super Peasy One-Bowl Chocolate Brownie

(p.s. Egg-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, vegetarian and vegan)

((pp.s. and super peasy for children to make!))

veganb2

 Ingredients – Dry

1 ½ cups Doves Wheat & Gluten Free Flour

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (I use Belbake cocoa which is vegan)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsb baking powder

½ tsp salt

Ingredients – Wet

1 tsp white vinegar (I know, trust me..)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup water

 instructions
Stage One:

Super easy peasy sifting flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into an 8” square greased cake pan.

 20150515_172031
Stage Two:

Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well.

Pour cold water over all, and combine with a fork.

20150515_172811

 Stage Three:

Bake at 180c for 35 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Wait 5 minutes to cool before turning out or slice and serve with fresh summer fruits and a dollop of cream. Or if you can restrain yourself dust your bake with icing sugar and keep a safe distance until chow time. You’re welcome!

veganb3

If you have any dietary challenges you’d like us to knot our apron for please email bunsoffun@hotmail.co.uk or call Emma on 07932 874576.

pin1

Pin Party

 Pin Party

 Wedding Season has started in earnest; we’ve already been baking for nuptials across the county.  Skimming through Pintrest there are some beautiful and inspiring collections, simple, stunning and timeless.

Buns of Fun have a number of weekend dates for 2015 which are rapidly disappearing, if you wait too long you might not get your date. Contact details at the bottom. Have you had a scoot around our Pintrest boards? @bunsoffunEmma on Pintrest ‘Weddingism’.

Kicking off our short but uber sweet post we have a beaut. Simple and elegant, green and chilled, perfect for a relaxed, informal wedding at home or rustic setting. Pinned from 100layer.com

pin1

We are creating cake tables for Festival and Picnic Weddings…Pick a bunch of your favourite cakes and bake goodies, we have cake plates and stands to borrow for small change.  We can quote for you at the time of placing your order. We have some rather fab pals at The Little Lending Co who have all sorts of unique staging items to make your celebrations truly individual.

pin2

Pinned on The Wedding Scoop.

We love this whimsical, romantic cake – already re-Pinned 38 times!  It’s a stylish number and perfectly proportioned with sequined, gold pearled tiers and boho ruffles.

pin3wuthering

Found on ruffledblog.com

Aqua as a colour and washed out colours are still taking favour for celebration cakes.  Actually a First Birthday cake from Hostess With The Mostest blog, still stunning enough in it’s simplictity to take part in our Pin party

pin5mint

And as our business name suggests, we’re game for a giggle why not add a bit of Fun and personalise it – how about this for something for the boys (or girls)?

pin6spidey

 Mobile: 07932 874576
facebook: Buns of Fun (For All Occasions)
Twitter: @BunsoffunEmma
Instagram: @BunsoffunEmma & #bunsoffun

 

Easter Edibles

Easter is upon us once more and so are the Easter holidays for the mini family members. For us it’s a visit to Bonny Wee Scotch and days of activity, eating and adventures.   So School’s Out and maybe you’ll have the folks over or just hear the immortal sing-song words from the hungry little people ‘I want something to eaaat!’   Fear not, I shall help you become Mistress of the Baking Tins, I have a rescue plan. If you are a pro or just giving it a bash I’ve a couple of recipes to keep the wee folk occupied – and they’re a *bit* healthy too..

Easter-Eggs-Tree

 Simnel Brownies* adapted from Baking mad.com

Totally girdle busting chocolate richness, fudgy and rich it’s not one for the faint hearted! Please note this recipe has magical properties in that it has the ability to shrink clothes if enough is consumed.

Ingredients:

100g Dried mixed fruits (I used our favourite Holland & Barrett Luxury Berry Mix which is amazing – an interesting collection of raisins, dried blueberries, golden-berries (dried physallis), golden raisins and dried cranberries. If this is a bit off the wall then go for the original or regular dried fruit.

1tsp Cinnamon

½tsp Nutmeg                                                  ½tsp Sea salt

50ml Brandy or orange juice                          110g Butter (unsalted)

260g Unrefined light muscovado sugar         75g Golden syrup

300g Dark chocolate                                       4 Egg(s) (free range) medium

80g Plain white flour                                      75g Marzipan ready to roll

Pre heat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan, 325°F, gas mark 3).

Soak the fruits in the brandy or orange juice with the spices and salt over night, although I have cheated by juicing and soaking the fruit while all the other bits are going on.

IMG_20150326_121408

In a large saucepan, melt the butter, light muscovado and syrup until smooth and glossy.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, mixing until all the chocolate has fully melted.

Whisk the eggs lightly and add to the chocolate mixture stirring well. Now add the soaked fruits and flour – I know, it looks a very small amount of flour but all is as it should be – trust me

Pour in to a parchment paper lined baking tin 8” square.

My favourite bit – hand roll the all the marzipan into smallish balls and if the small folk are helping this is their moment! Bombs away and drop them over the top of the brownie then finish with the dark muscovado sprinkled over the top.

IMG_20150324_162617

Bake for 20 -30 minutes until it’s just beginning to set but is still soft in the middle.

Remove from the oven, cool completely then chill in the fridge overnight. (Again we had a moment of Cheatsville and cut into them the same day so tantalising was their aroma)

Turn out of the tin and cut into squares. Serve at room temperature. These amazing brownies will keep for 7 days in an airtight container.

IMG_20150327_133329

Sticky Bunny Cake from BBC Good Food

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 1 hr, 10 mins plus cooling  – Makes 10-12 slices

A sticky and delicious sponge with an unusual decorative candied carrot topping – enjoy a slice with a cup of coffee or tea

 Ingredients:

200g light soft brown sugar                         150ml light rapeseed oil

100g natural yogurt                                        3 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract                                        300g self-raising flour

zest 3 oranges, juice of 2 (save juice of last orange for the carrots, below)

1 tbsp mixed spice                                         1 tsp ground cinnamon

250g coarsely grated carrots                       crème fraîche, to serve (optional)

 For the caramelised carrots

225-250g small or baby carrots, peeled and halved lengthways

juice of 1 orange (from cake ingredients)     25g butter

4 tbsp light soft brown sugar

Put the carrots in a saucepan so they can sit in just about a single layer. Add the orange juice, butter, sugar and enough water to cover the tops of the carrots by just 1cm. Bring it to the boil, then cook until the water has almost evaporated and the carrots are left in a sticky syrup – you may want to reduce the heat if the liquid looks more syrupy, and go a little slower at the end so the carrots don’t catch. These can be made up to 1 day ahead.

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease a 23cm cake tin. Lift the candied carrots from the pan and syrup, and arrange in the base of the tin, cut-side down. Keep the pan and syrup for later.

Whisk together the 200g brown sugar, the oil, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and zest from 2 oranges. Mix the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and grated carrot in a big mixing bowl. Stir in the whisked mixture until smooth, then spoon over the carrots in the tin – now’s the time to add your rabbit.

easter

Too cute!  Don’t do it, instead bake for 45-50 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, add the orange juice to the syrup pan with the 3 tbsp brown sugar. Simmer together until slightly reduced, then stir in the remaining zest.

Turn the cake out onto a plate and spoon over the syrup. Eat just warm or at room temperature with more yogurt or crème fraîche.

easter carrot cake

I hope you have a lovely Easter break what ever you get up to.  Buns of Fun is away until 13th April but you can still email me on bunsoffun@hotmail.co.uk
x Emma

IMG_20150326_165007

 

‘Spring’ into Baking

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb – that’s what it sounds like when talking about my favourite thing to grow in the garden.  I love this time of year when the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are waking up – the old caveman instinct is to eat green and try new shoots.  Today in our garden the sap is rising and rhubarb is audibly creaking out of the ground. Checking under the cloches to see the tender new growth is very exciting – I’m like the Bisto kid imagining a wishful smell of freshly baked rhubarb goodies. Some of which I’ve popped below.  The new shoots are great with a dab of sugar on the open end and eaten raw so I have our much-loved tried and tested Rhubarb Mojito to share with you.  My mama is also quite partial – we first discovered this a few years ago on Mothers Day after spending the morning on our windswept North Norfolk beach then rallied home to sample the gardens finest offering.

Now let’s get cracking with that Mojito..

rhubarb mojito

rhubarb mojito

Single serving so increase quantities as per person.

2 large or 3 small stalks of rhubarb

2 tablespoons of sugar

4 leaves of mint

1/4 lime

60 ml white rum

Splash of soda water, maybe…

Method

Thinly slice the rhubarb and place it in a dish with the sugar – you can let it sit while you prep the other ingredients or put in the fridge overnight.  If you go for the fridge option (always my favourite) you still have the crunchy slices but additionally all this amazing rhubarb syrup, lovely on a spoon or add it to your Mojito for extra rhurbarbyness.

Put the rhubarb and mint in a shaker, squeeze in the lime and add the crushed wedge for good measure.  Fill with ice to the top and pour in the rum and rhubarb syrup if you have any left.  Shake really, REALLY well and pour into a tall glass, if you need a dash of soda water now is the time.  Sit back and admire one of Springs new shoots.

Also in the alcoholic vein, if you’re partial to a drop of easy peasy jujshing up of a bottle of Voddy, roll up, roll up….

rhubodka

‘Rhubodka’

1 x 1.75-litre bottle of vodka – bottom shelf cheap vodka is fine for this as you’re adding the natural beauty.
4-5 sticks of red rhubarb (not sour green)
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
A large jar with lid

Cut the rhubarb into 1/2″ to 1″ chunks.

Add everything to the jar and mix well, either by shaking the or stirring with a long-handled spoon.

Store in a cool, dark place. Shake or stir the jar daily.

That’s it.

The vodka will be ready in a month. Strain out the rhubarb and give it a taste test.

Rhubarb vodka can be added to:
• Tonic water
• Soda water
• Lemonade

rhubarb cake-0827

gluten free upside down rhubarb cake

This a little bit more ‘different stagey’ but worth it.  Also it’s in US measurements, if you don’t have cups here’s a whizzy conversion I use from Doves Farm

4 C* (cups) rhubarb, cut into ½ inch cubes ( about 1 ¼ lb)
1 1/4 cup sugar –divide                              4 tbsp butter
1 T fresh lemon juice                                   2 tsp vanilla extract divided
pinch salt
4 eggs, separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature
zest from one lemon                                     ¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 1/2 cups ground almond flour              1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar           Icing sugar for sprinkling

instructions

Pre heat your oven to 375 F Oven (temperature converter from Doves too – they are most helpful!  You know what it’s like when you have cookery books and no idea what it is in ‘English’)

So over medium heat, melt butter in a pan, add rhubarb, ¾ cup sugar, lemon juice, 2 tsp vanilla and pinch salt and stir for 2 minutes, just until combined and sugar has dissolved. Turn heat off – don’t keep cooking the rhubarb, you do so at your peril, it will become soggy.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with lemon zest, cardamom and ¼ cup sugar, until creamy and sugar has dissolved. Then whisk to combine almond flour, pinch salt, and baking powder.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir to incorporate. You will have a very thick heavy batter at this point.

In a mixer, whisk egg whites on medium high-speed, and once you see bubbles add a pinch of salt and tsp vinegar. Whip until egg whites have formed soft peaks then add remaining ¼ cup sugar a little at a time whipping until medium stiff peaks form. Turn speed to down to medium low and begin spooning in the flour – egg yolk batter, a heaping spoonful at a time, into the egg whites, until it is all combined, and scraping downs sides as necessary.

Pour batter over rhubarb in a spring form pan and place in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or so.  At 30 minutes, check for ‘doneness’ by inserting a skewer – If it comes out clean, it is done, if not, bake a bit longer. Pull from the oven and immediately, let it cool before removing sides and flipping onto a plate.

You are good to go with calories and cream, grab a fork and take a seat!

Prep time: 25 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 55 mins Makes 6-8 servings

rhubarb cake-0783

Rhubarb curd

(from the ‘Beautiful Bakin’ Co’ aka BBC Good Food) We love this and it never hangs around long – I can’t wait until we have enough to whip up a batch. A bit lengthy but well worth the wait.

  • 600g forced rhubarb, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g butter, diced
  • 4 tsp cornflour
  • 175g caster sugar
  • splash of grenadine (optional)

Method

  1. Put the rhubarb in a blender or food processor and whizz until as fine as it will go. Set a sieve over a bowl, and tip in the rhubarb, pushing pulp with a wooden spoon to get through as much juice as you can.
  2. Add the eggs, butter, cornflour, sugar and 250ml rhubarb juice (save the rest) to a pan and set over a very low heat. Whisk until all the butter has melted, then, using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the curd has thickened to a consistency a little thicker than custard. Don’t be tempted to increase the heat to speed up the process, as the eggs will curdle; make sure you stir right around the edge, too, as this is where it might catch first.
  3. Sieve the curd into a clean bowl to get rid of any eggy bits that may have curdled. Stir in 100ml more of the reserved juice and a small splash of grenadine if you would like your curd a bit pinker, before chilling. Once cold, taste – add a splash more rhubarb juice if it needs sharpening, then spoon into jars. The curd will keep, stored in the fridge, for up to a week. Eat on scones, crumpets or hot buttered toast, or dollop into sweet pastry cases to make mini curd tarts.

rhubarb ‘leather’

Super chewy, great for school pick-ups, long walks, fat free snacking…

500g rhubarb, washed and chopped into 1cm pieces (no need to peel) 3 tbsp honey (or, to taste)

Method

Combine the rhubarb and 80ml water in a saucepan then add the honey and bring to a simmer.

Cook until the rhubarb begins to soften then take off the heat to cool slightly.

Place in a blender and purée until smooth then pass through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any large pieces of skin (press down with the back of a spoon to get the most liquid out).

You should end up with about 500ml of purée.

rhurbarb

Now line a baking tray with heat-proof clingfilm (the kind you can microwave).

Note that an average baking tray (about 30cm x 42cm) will hold about 500ml of purée.

Add the purée to the covered baking tray, spread evenly with a spatula (you want a depth of about 4mm) then place in an oven pre-heated to 140°C.

Place the baking tray in the oven but leave the door ajar (you want the steam to escape, as you are drying the leather) and cook for about 6 hours, or until the fruit leather is very dry. The exact drying time will depend on the sugar levels, the more sugar the longer it will take to dry.

The leather must be completely dry, or it will not keep. To ensure the leather is dry simply try to pull it away from the clingfilm (plastic wrap).

If it comes away easily and holds its shape then it is dry (make sure it’s not too dry though, as then it will crumble bit it can still be eaten as a sweet treat).

To store, cover the fruit leather in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and roll loosely.  Place in a clean, dry container and seal (I typically use a pasta jar with a bung).  It will keep in the store cupboard for between 4 and 12 months or you can refrigerate and keep even longer.

There you go, rhubarb a plenty if you’re lucky enough to have crowns growing plentifully this Spring, if you don’t grow your own go for the lovely pinky and red stalks in your local grocers.

Bon apetit x

One-Cake-Four-Ways

In the words of Jesse ‘this week we ‘ave mostly been playing around with’

…some fancy-pants cakery techniques and adapting our dummy Wedding cake, the one we used for the Most Curious Wedding Show. Our ‘One-Cake-Four-Ways‘.

I love that working for myself means I can try my hand at anything and attack with aplomb once the boys are in bed and certain styles have rather caught my eye recently. Some of them you have seen me create already and some are some of the Top 10 styles for cakes right now, some are still to come. Other than that I’m quite comforted by Pintrest and leading blog bods that I’m giving you guys cakes and designs that are bang on trend. I’ve covered this before so some of you will know we have already ticked off the metallic cake with the gold leaf and edible lace effect, naked cakes – tick, woodland & butter-cream wedding cakes and ombre (usually a single graded colour in fondant, ruffles or buttercream) we have one lined up in the next month for a Christening for you.

Scenario oNE:20150208_095740

This large white cake has been the object of our affection, it’s a double height 10″ round cake with an 8″ round set right off centre to the back lines touching ‘2 o’clock’ as you look at it.  I was fortunate enough to have some very special authentic vintage lace ribbon, released from a languished 30 year retirement in my Mothers sewing box.  Our green fingered pals, namely the clever petal pixie at Flower30, Sharon, who did rather a dashing job (literally after a mercy call from me when another florist was unable to) siting some beautifully fresh succulents and a twirl here and there of jasmine foliage on the accommodating ledge.

20150227_133543Scenario Two:

To adapt the cake as it sits we tried a combination of white-on-white with some gold, a sort of homage to Gustav Klimt – a favourite when studying Art & Design in Amersham back in the day. I prepared and cut vanilla rice wafer paper overlays and pressed gold leaf to create a stunning effect.  Feathery on the eye but with enough structure to carry a pleasing fascinator of florals or greenery or you could keep it chic and simple with white ribbon trim.  On a tiered cake this would be a gorgeous topper if smaller with a simple fondant iced layer as the base tier.

20150227_133442Scenario Three:

I have been hopping foot to foot to try my hand at black board or chalk-boarding, depending on which side of The Big Pond you currently reside. To start with we had mixed results – towards the end of my dabble the only viable piece of black that was left resulted in me getting a stream of confidence and the old Art & Design blood started to flow pretty sweetly. I’d say I’m pretty comfortable about my next one – So much so I can’t wait to get going on the next black board cake in 2015.  Any design can be applied whether it’s short and sweet with a statement plaque or more elaborate and a total cover of black board.  Which ever way you choose it’s as fun, stylish and individual as you are!

 cake_love_hand_painted_wedding_cakeScenario Four:

I love painted cake! It’s my new favourite thing! I have discovered this and like a dog loves catching a ball this is one technique I’m going to revisit again and again. There are so many ways for your cake artist to decorate it becomes dizzying to try to capture them. Designs can be so simple in that you could depict a small scene in the centre of the wall of your cake or you could have the whole surface pigmented as a colour wash or go mad and go wild and jazz in up in hot colours all getting cosy. Amazing.

pic courtesy The Natural Wedding Company.

What Next:

Our Bucket List of Things Bun of Fun have lined up for 2015:

We love monogrammed and geometric cakes, they are precise pieces of art work preciously placed upon silken smooth fondant or Royal icing with edges to cut yourself on, something similar can be seen later on with Buns of Fun – like all good things you have to wait and it’s all coming in 2015

I’m also a fan of the more organic but meaningful ruffled and painted or illustrated cakes. Meaningful in that you kinda need to know where you’re going with it before committing to ruffle or paint. You need a starting point and a forward plan or it’s just going to look too unstructured and a little too crazy to love maybe…

So what have you got line up for this year – What else would you like to see?  We’d love to hear your hopes & plans.

As usual we look forward to helping you with your forth coming event.

Emma ♥

Facebook: Buns of Fun  Mobile: 07932 874576  Twitter & Pintrest: @BunsoffunEmma

Friday’s Quickie – Seven Spectacular Pins

As a Pinpest sometimes I find it hard to sort the wheat from the chaff so to speak, there’s oodles of cakes to choose from on Pintrest.  A bewilderment of baking some may say.  Stop – take a minute and admire the craveable creations we’ve Pinned this week.  It was a toughy to stop at seven..

blog7 blog6

I adore the natural fell of these two cakes and that greenery is gorgeous whether on a buttercream cake or a more traditional cake tower.

blog5 blog4

We’re experimenting with doodles on cakes so watch this space for Buns brushstrokes..

blog3 blog2

Lastly, florals in any way or shape we love ’em!  We’re also partial to a bit of bling!

blog1