Tag: Easter

If you go down to the allotment today…

Hullo again, with Easter well and truly around the corner, here’s another cute bunny-themed bake for you.

I found an adorable mould for tiny carrots online when browsing for chocolate moulds, as you do on payday…right? I couldn’t resist pairing them with the gorgeous little flowerpot shaped cupcake cases my lovely pal Taylor bought me for my birthday a couple of years back.

Anyhoo, there was an obvious flavour choice for these and I pried myself away from my usual chocolate bakes to bring you carrot muffins/cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

This makes 6 cupcakes, so you will want to double it for more or for a single cake.


You will need

100g/3.5 oz self-raising flour

100g/3.5 oz carrot

80g/2.5 oz soft light brown sugar

75ml/2.5 fl oz sunflower/vegetable oil

1 egg

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Zest of an orange

For the icing:

75g/2.5 oz soft cream cheese (full fat)

25g/1 oz unsalted butter

100g/3.5 oz icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Green food colouring


Candy coating chips in orange (or yellow and red like me) and green

Carrot mould

Flower pot cupcake cases


Step one

Grate the carrot on the largest setting and the skin of the orange on the smallest setting on your grater.


Step two

Using a fork combine the oil and the egg in a small dish.


Step three

Combine the flour, sugar, spices and bicarb in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and stir in the egg and oil mix. Do this in small circles to avoid lumps.

Add the carrot and orange zest (some raisins wouldn’t go amiss if you have some).

Let’s be honest. Not the most appetising looking mixture.


Step four

Distribute the mixture evenly between the pots.

Bake on gas mark 4/180C/350F for 20-25 minutes.


Step five

While the cakes are in the oven melt your candy chips in the microwave and fill the moulds using a piping bag. Make sure to look underneath your mould to check there’s no bubbles.

If mixing the orange from red and yellow like me I advise you to start with yellow and gradually add red to get the colour you want rather than the other way round.

Step six

Make the icing by combining the cream cheese, icing sugar, butter and food colouring. Now, I won’t lie, you may need to add a little more icing sugar to the recipe, I’ve adjusted the quantities based on a slightly runny mix that I had, but they might not be totally perfect. My apologies chaps.

Add food colouring until you have a colour you like, I didn’t want to overdo it and overshadow the carrots.


Step seven

When the cakes are completely cool ice them just using a spoon. You can get more fancy if you want but personally I didn’t see the need to faff about.


Step eight

Pop the carrots in.



It’s almost EASTER.

I’ve had these little bunny pops in my mind’s eye for a while now. I’ll precursor this post with saying they don’t look exactly how I imagined. Sure, they do look a bit like Pikachu, but they are scrummy, so I vote worth the time if you’ve a free afternoon and a healthy dose of patience in your arsenal.


You will need

9 gelatine sheets

300g/10.5 oz granulated sugar

2 egg whites

1 tbsp liquid glucose (you can find this in a squeezy toothpaste type tube in the baking section)

2-3 tsp extract of your choice (but I HIGHLY recommend ‘buttery caramel’ from the natural professional flavours range – bought at Lakeland)

600-800g/1lb 5 oz – 1lb 12 oz chocolate for dipping (having sampled milk and white, I’d go white)

Sugar confetti for faces

Edible ink pen (or melted dark chocolate and a cocktail stick)

Icing sugar for dusting

A sugar thermometer

A bunny cutter (I got this from Amazon)

A handful of mini marshmallows (for fluffy bunny tails)

Cake pop sticks


Step one

In a cereal bowl, soak the gelatine in 150ml/5 fl oz cold water. Set aside.

Step two

Combine the sugar, 150ml/5 fl oz water (different to the gelatine water) and the liquid glucose in a smallish saucepan. Allow the sugar to dissolve on a low heat, and then turn it up to medium-high. Be careful not to burn the sugar or any of your extremities.

The temperature you want this to get to is 118 C. It will feel like it will never get there, but stay strong.


Step three

While the sugar is bubbling away take the opportunity to dust a brownie tin with icing sugar. Use a really small amount of olive oil before dusting to hold the icing sugar to the pan.


Step four

Place the egg whites in a metal or glass bowl, never plastic. Or you know, if you want to wreck your lovely Mason Cash bowl by using an electric whisk on it, by all means do. Those handsome grey marks? You could have those too.

When the sugar gets to somewhere around 112-115C whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks.

Step five

When the sugar reaches 118C take it off the heat.

Squeeze the gelatine out a bit and add it to the sugar mix. It will bubble right up so don’t panic. It should settle pretty quickly.


Step six

Pour the hot sugar into the eggs, but make sure you’re whisking continually to avoid a big lump of sugar at the bottom of the bowl.

Whisk until the mixture holds its shape well and is quite thick. This can take up to ten minutes.

Somewhere during the whisking (probably when you need to give your arm a rest) add the flavouring. Vanilla extract is lovely in these but they will take basically anything you fancy. Like I said in the ingredients list I really recommend ‘Buttery Caramel’ from the Natural Professional Flavours brand.


Step seven

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth out as much as possible.

Dust with icing sugar and leave to set for about an hour.


Step eight

Turn the marshmallow out onto a clean surface.

Cut as many bunnies as you can out of the sheet of marshmallow. This will vary depending on your tin and cutter size. I got nine out of mine.


Step nine

Melt a couple of pieces of chocolate in the microwave.

Dip the cake pop sticks in and push them into the bottom of the bunnies. I put mine in up to the head to increase stability. Leave to set.


Step ten

I recommend tempering the chocolate. Then you will get a nice snap when you bite into the pops and you can use the remaining chocolate to do something like this. Don’t feel you have to though, it will work without.


To temper, melt two thirds of the chocolate over a pan of boiling water and allow it to reach 45C. Remove it from the heat and add the rest of the chocolate. This should melt in and cool it down quicker. Stir it to cool down to 25C. Place it back on the heat to get it back up to 28C.


Step eleven

Place the chocolate into a small deep bowl (or I actually found with the milk chocolate that a glass works really well).

Dip the bunnies in and make sure to coat well. Allow excess chocolate to drip off, twirl it round to get an even, smooth coating.

This is where I ran into a spot of difficulty and filled my left hand with bunny pops that were covered in melted chocolate. I suggest you a) get a spare pair of willing hands, b) get a block of florist’s oasis/cake pop stand to stick them in, c) accept the back of them won’t be beautiful and lay them down on cellophane or greaseproof paper.

Step twelve

Once dry, add their little faces and tails. I used a cocktail stick with a small amount of melted chocolate to stick on sugar decorations. I got the little hearts I used for the noses from Tiger, and I can’t be sure about the circles for the cheeks.

I drew the faces on with an edible ink pen I bought online. You could use a cocktail stick and some dark chocolate if you prefer.



Step thirteen

Tie a piece of twine or ribbon around the stick and make a day a little bit happier.

Making Friday good

Guten Tag!

I’m in Germany at the moment, so unfortunately there won’t be a blog post on Monday, but there is a little one now, so I hope that eases the heartache.

Those of you who knew me as a child may remember my penchant for mayonnaise and sugar sandwiches (separate at least), and most of you will now be questioning my taste. I gladly inform you that my palette has improved. A little bit at least.

I present to you my most recent ‘digusting-but-really-works’ brainchild. The bacon hot cross bun Easter brunch. Yes. You heard.


You will need

Smoked bacon (at least two rashers per person)

Hot cross buns (one each)

Maple syrup (lashings of)

Step one

Cook bacon.

Step two

Put bacon in buns.

Step three

Cover in maple syrup.

Step four



It’s such a lovely time of year, the sun is shining and the shops are full of mini eggs. What’s not to love?

This little idea popped into my head when I was putting out the snacks for an open day (I sort of swing by a university law school and do admissions in my spare time/to get paid). Anyway, after opening the rice crispy bites, and popping one in my mouth (it’s good manners to make sure everything is in order for the guests) I moved on to unpacking the rocky road. BINGO. Rocky road Easter nests were born!

As if that hasn’t sold it well enough to you, these look far more realistic than your regular festive treat, and you will never touch a box of shredded wheat again once you’ve tried them. Just as easy to make with kiddies and more ingredients so more fun to be had.


You will need

200g/7 oz Dark chocolate

100g/3.5 oz Milk chocolate

125g/4.5 oz Unsalted butter

3 tbsp Golden syrup

200g/7 0z Digestive biscuits

100g/3.5 oz Mini marshmallows

Generous handful of seedless raisins

 15 Glace cherries (cut into quarters)

Bag of mini eggs

Fairy cake cases

Icing sugar to dust

Makes 15


Step one

Melt the dark chocolate, milk chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a sauce pan.

Go slowly, burning chocolate is one of life’s saddest occurrences.


Step two

While the chocolate is melting, but without getting too distracted, crush up the digestive biscuits with the end of a rolling pin.

Or your fist if you’re having a particularly bad day.


Step three

Stir the biscuit, cherries and raisins into the chocolate. Leave the marshmallows alone for the moment.

In case you weren’t gifted with common sense, this should be off the heat by now.

Set to one side.


Step four

This is the clever bit, or at least I like to think so.

I figured nests aren’t the strange conical shape of cupcake cases, and I didn’t want to end up mail ordering some weird and wonderful baking cases that met my specifications, so I just adapted the regular ones.

I say regular, but I’m not convinced these are actually universal. Before America convinced us that muffin-sized cakes covered in mountains of buttercream (the cupcake we know and love) were the way forward, us Brits had a more modest little bun – the fairy cake. Do other countries have these too? Answers on a post card please.

Anyway, my dear ma has been chastising me about using up the many a fairy cake case we have gathering dust in the cupboard while I burn through the muffin cases to make my cupcakes. They just aren’t cool anymore mum.

Until now.

The fairy cake cases are the perfect size for this, although, of course, whatever size you have should work the same way (you will just have a slightly different number of nests at the end).

Basically you just run your finger around the inside edge of the case in circles until it opens out and has short straight walls as pictured.


Step four

Repeat x 15


Step five

The chocolate mix should now have cooled sufficiently to not melt your marshmallows to mush.

Stir them in…you will still have to work fairly quickly.


Step six

Spoon mixture into cases and stick eggs in the nests. Don’t be tight, give at least three to each one.

Step seven

Put in the fridge to set.

Dust in icing sugar before serving, you can afford to be a bit more liberal than I was. After I’d taken the pictures I dropped the spoon on one and it actually looked a lot better with a heavier dusting.



Step eight

Get chubby.

Have a great week guys!

Oh, and you may have noticed I’ve moved my site – I’m trying to figure out what impact that has on the people who were already following me, I’ll keep you posted!

A little box of joy

In case you hadn’t noticed, Easter is fast approaching. I’m a big fan of Easter, and Spring in general. This year I’m heading to Germany to see some very wonderful people and I can’t wait.

In the meantime though, I’m busy covering everything in mini eggs and thinking up yummy Easter treats for you to get chubby eating. You’re welcome.

This one is great for kids and would make a lovely little present for the relatives or anyone else you might be seeing over the next few weeks.



You will need

An egg box

Coloured paper/paints

PVA glue

For the cakes

4.5 oz/125g Self raising flour

4.5 oz/125g Butter/margarine (I use stork for most cakes)

4.5 oz/125g Caster sugar

2 eggs

1tsp Vanilla extract

For the decoration

4.5 oz/125g Unsalted butter (room temperature)

2 tbsp Full fat milk

12 oz/350g Icing sugar

Food colouring

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Mini eggs

Mini cupcake/muffin cases

Makes 24


Step one

Decorate your egg box. This post is just a suggestion, you can paint it, or cover it in glitter, or stick cotton wool balls all over to make it look like a sheep. Your only limit is your imagination, and the fact it’s an egg box…

Rip paper into strips. The thinner the paper the better with this really, as egg boxes, I discovered, are rather lumpy, so thicker papers don’t mould around them so well.

Mix PVA and water together in a bowl that you don’t mind getting temporarily covered in glue. You want about 3 parts PVA to 1 part water (otherwise the egg box will get soggy).

Paint the glue mix onto the surface of the box and stick paper on top. Cover each strip of paper with more glue mix as you go. This is where it all gets very Art Attack. Neil Buchanan made it look so easy…

Keep going until the whole outside is covered and leave somewhere to dry. Make sure you do the box bit a good few hours in advance of using it, ideally the day before.


At this stage mine looked like the above, and I still thought it was a bit messy.


Step two

Line the edges with washi tape. I did this to neaten mine up mainly, you possibly won’t have the same issue.

You might notice the purple box in the background…thought I would include a cheats option. That’s the box from those Cadbury’s Egg n’ Spoon things. They are amazing in case you were wondering, and now you have an excuse to buy a pack.

Cut the central doo-dahs so they are level with the rest of the sides.

Line the lid either using the same technique as before, or with cut paper and double sided tape.


Step three

Time to start on the cakes. I use an electric whisk to make cakes but a wooden spoon and some elbow grease is just as good.

Cream together the margarine and caster sugar. If you’re using butter bring it to room temperature before doing this. You want it to be fluffy and light like the image on the right. Honestly, Stork is the way forward for this. Cheaper too.


Step four

Quickly whisk/beat in the eggs and vanilla extract and then add the flour.

Stir until you have a smooth thick batter.

Heat oven to gas mark 4/180 C/350 F


Step five

Fill cake cases with mixture. You want them to be about two thirds full, a few of mine were too full, so if in doubt look at the above and go for a bit less!

Step six

Bake for  about 30 mins on gas mark 4/180 C/350 F. My oven is a touch special so keep an eye on yours, timings may vary.

Leave to cool completely before icing.

Step seven

Whisk together the unsalted butter, icing sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Add food colouring of your choice.

Now, I don’t usually use a recipe for this so don’t shy away from adding a bit more icing sugar if your icing is too wet or a splash more milk if too dry.


Step eight

Ice your cakes and pop two mini eggs on top.

I won’t give too many piping tips as I’m still getting the hang of things myself. The general rule though is to keep the piping bag at quite an upright angle and apply even pressure.


Step nine

Put them in the egg box and make someone’s day that little bit more joyful.



Last Monday night I found myself in Sainsbury’s lending a hand with the food shopping. Whilst queuing behind five of the most ridiculous locals in the bakery line, I happened to spot a something in the display case. Now, I don’t know whether I was more amused or horrified to see these little things. There was no way to describe them, so I bought some to show you. See below.


Now, I wouldn’t blame you for wondering what on earth they are. That, my dear friends is one of the ways Sainsbury’s is ringing in the Easter season this year. They’re chicks! I know right? Wow.

So in my slightly obsessive way I hit the chocolate aisle with plans to improve on Sainsbury’s rather bizarre little contribution to Spring.


You will need

A half batch of the fudge from last week’s post. See step one for more info.

(You may prefer to use a favourite truffle or cake pop recipe instead, I just really like fudge)

300g White chocolate

White chocolate buttons

200-300g Candy coating

(optional – substitute with more white chocolate if you prefer/don’t want to buy)

A tub of chocolate beans

(mine were from Dr Oetker)

A couple of squares of dark chocolate


Step one

Make up the fudge as seen in last week’s post. You don’t want to heat it to quite the same temperature though, or you won’t be able to roll it. Go with around 112 degrees C. The white stuff you can see on the board is icing sugar – the fudge was a touch sticky.

Apologies both for skipping the ‘making of’ in this post, and for using the same recipe twice in two weeks. This is just a suggestion, you can use any kind of filling as long as you can roll it into balls.


Step two

Cut buttons into halves for the little wings, and sort your beans out so you’ve just got the yellow and orange ones for their little beaks.

Step three

Now, this stage was all a bit too much to try and document all on my own, even with the help of self timer, so excuse the jump in photos.

You want to melt the candy coating and white chocolate in the microwave in heat-proof bowls (do one colour in full first then the other).

After my first and bad experience with candy coating I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of take two, but I really wanted yellow chicks and had plenty left over. So I did a little google, only to discover that Wilton’s Candy Coating (the one I have) is pretty much universally hated by all home bakers. Wish I’d known before I forked out £3…still, never mind.

The forum mums and bloggers informed me that this cement mix can be thinned out with some melted shortening (Trex is the best UK substitute), or oil. I didn’t want a whole tub of Trex with no other plans for it on the horizon, so I just used veg oil. It worked fairly well, and at least made the candy dipp-able. I will probably try to source an alternative next time though.

Anyway, you should check out my dipping technique, documented in this post if you’re not sure where to start. You need to dip your fudge, place on greaseproof paper, and straight away stick on the little beak and wings. Feel free to experiment with different positions for the wings and beak so that all your tiny chickens are unique.

Leave to dry.

NB: I also added little swirls and lines for hair with a cocktail stick to give my chicks a bit of extra character, not that they needed any…they’re a little bit bumpy and odd as it is but it all adds to the charm eh?!


Step four

Use a small sharp knife to trim off any chocolate that has pooled to form a base on the greaseproof around the bottom of your chicks. I wish I’d been a little more careful about this, so take your time. If you do it while the chocolate is still a little soft you will get a cleaner cut.

Step five

Melt a couple of squares of dark chocolate and use a cocktail stick to dot on eyes. I made a number of mine sleep with little semi circles and the wonkiest looking one was given glasses…mainly for my sister’s benefit as I knew she would find him endearing.

Step six

Put them on a plate and serve them up to your Easter guests!

They are a bit too cute to eat though. Even if they aren’t quite the polished product I had in mind when I turned my nose up at the Sainsbury’s ones, I hope they bring a little smile to your face.

Happy making!