5

Lemon and Blueberry Cakenuts

jessthetics / lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Even though it’s summer now, on cloudy days I still feel like curling up under a blanket and eating lots of donuts, so I made some! Well, sort of. I don’t have a donut baking tray (although it’s definitely on my wishlist now) so I improvised and baked my mixture in a muffin tray. These treats are like a cross between a cake and a donut, hence “cakenut”! They’re light and fluffy, tart and sweet at the same time and it did not take me and my family long to munch through these (a day and a half, tops!) I’ve adapted my recipe from this incredible vegan donut recipe. The cakenuts are vegan too!

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

You will need: 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 1 cup of plain flour, 1/3 cup of maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup of rice milk, 1 tablespoon of warm water, 1/4 cup of vegan margarine, 1 lemon, 1 1/3 cup of icing sugar, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of blueberry jam, a muffin tray and a piping bag.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

First, mix the flaxseed and the warm water together and leave this to stand for a couple of minutes.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Next, slightly melt the margarine and mix this with the zest of your lemon, the maple syrup, milk and the flax seed mixture. Add to this the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix together.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Spoon your mixture into the muffin trays so that each circle is half filled. Bake these at 180 C for fifteen minutes.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Once the cakenuts have cooled, you can remove them from the pan and begin the fun bit – the piping! If you have a piping bag, fill it with blueberry jam, push the nozzle into the middle of the cakenut and squeeze. If, like me, you don’t have a piping bag, you could make a diy one from greaseproof paper and sellotape, and use a chopstick to make a hole in the middle of your cakenut. This is definitely the messy way of getting the jam in the middle! For variety, half of my cakenuts have jam inside, and the other half have jam spread on top like a scone.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together and spread it on the top of your cakenuts! (Don’t forget to lick the bowl, this stuff is tasty.)

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

And they’re ready to eat! Because they take so little time in the oven and the mixture’s pretty simple, this is actually a really quick bake. And when you’re hungry for cakenuts, that can only be a good thing!

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5

April In Review

Mum and I have been gardening this month. We’ve planted hanging baskets (with the assistance of my very knowledgable Nana) and some pretty colourful potted plants (on a bench in the garden so that Archie can’t eat them!) I’ve also planted a bed of bee-friendly wildflowers, and some tomatoes, strawberries and scotch bonnets. I’ve not been very good at gardening in the past, so fingers crossed I’m more succesful this time!

James has visited a lot this month (yay!) This is him helping me make cupcakes. We’ve also been on a day out to Birmingham, gone on a lot of walks and watched a lot of Buffy (only one more season to go! Season 6 was my favourite so far.)

Asides from my birthday, blossoms must be the best thing about April. I’m lucky that my street is filled with blossom trees!

This is me looking groovy in my daytime birthday outfit 🙂

April has been a really fun blogging month! I’ve worn these funky Lavish Alice dungarees, some printed trousers from People Tree, and a vintage jumpsuit in Sorrento. I’ve shared my travel photos from Italy, an interview with Oh Dear Drea (one of my all time favourite bloggers!) and this tasty cupcake recipe. Archie made an appearance as the Easter Bunny, I did my first ever wishlist post, shared some photos my friend Joe took of me and last but not least announced that I will be opening an etsy shop! Phew.

If you hadn’t already gathered, yesterday was my birthday. I love birthdays, and I had a lovely relaxed day staying in my pyjamas until noon, eating blueberry waffles, drinking sangria and eating out with James and my family in the evening. I’m really looking forward to travelling to the Peak District with my friends this weekend. We will be staying in a camping barn again, just like we did for my last birthday!

My last piece of news is that Archie did not enjoy his bunny date, so we didn’t bring a new bunny home. The stress of travelling to the RSPCA actually made him quite ill (maybe he thought we were going to leave him there?) But you’ll be pleased to know he’s feeling better now. Although I feel bad for making him worry, it’s good to know that he’s happy being a bachelor bunny, and that his human family is company enough!

Here’s to a succesful May! What have you been up to this month? 🙂

11

Vegan Black Forest Cupcakes

At my internship we had a team meeting every Monday, and we took it in turns to make cake. Because I was vegan, my colleagues were so sweet and made me my own vegan treat every week! When I left, they bought me this amazing cupcake book – Vegan Cupcakes Take over The World! The first recipe that I’ve used from this book is the Black Forest Cupcakes recipe. The cakes were delicious and spongy, and I never would have guessed that they were vegan! My frosting was runnier than it should have been but oh well, practice makes perfect! Here’s how:

You will need: 1 and 1/4 cup soy milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup margarine, 3 and 1/2 cups icing sugar, teaspoon vanilla extract, 10 ounce frozen cherries (thawed), 1 tablespoon arrowroot, 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice, a bar of vegan chocolate, 20 candied cherries, 5 tablespoons of cherry brandy (Kirsch) (Makes 20!)

Make the frosting first, so that it has time to thicken in your fridge! Beat together the margarine, icing sugar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of soy milk and refrigerate.

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Whisk together 1 cup of soy milk with the vinegar, and let it sit for a couple of minutes to curdle. Add the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the vegetable oil. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the almond extract, a tablespoon of cherry brandy and mix it all together. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, the baking soda, the baking powder and the salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to your original bowl, and beat until smooth. Pour into cupcake cases, and bake for 20 minutes.

Whilst the cupcakes are baking, make the saucy cherries! Over medium heat, combine the cherries with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk together the pomegranate juice and the arrowroot, and pour this into your pan slowly. The mixture will thicken very quickly, so take it off the heat straight away! Then stir in a tablespoon of cherry brandy. Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut out their middles and scoop the cherry mixture into the well.

Retrieve your frosting from the fridge, and pipe on top of the cherry mixture, covering the cupcake (in retrospect I should have left my frosting in the fridge for a little longer!) Then put the cupcake cones back on top

Pipe some more frosting on top of the cupcakes, add the glace cherries and grate some vegan chocolate over the top.

For the glaze, combine 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of cherry brandy in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 2 minutes whilst stirring. Pour straight over your cupcakes!

These cakes are so tasty. It’s quite an in-depth recipe, but it’s fun spending the time to make something a bit different! Also, cooking with brandy is always fun. There are so many cakes in this book that I can’t wait to make, like the Margarita Cupcakes, Lychee Cupcakes, Pistachio Rosewater Cupcakes, Coconut Lime Cupcakes, Green Tea Cupcakes, Peanut Cupcakes…. the list goes on! Would you like to come round for tea? I’m going to have trouble eating all of these by myself!

3

Carrot and Pomegranate Cake

I have been trying and failing to bake a good cake for what feels like weeks – every time I put a cake in the aga (our oven) the oven goes out! That happened with this cake, but although it was still a little gooey, it was really tasty. I love the crunch that the pomegranate seeds give to the cake, and I love the grated carrot decoration! This recipe is adapted from The Vintage Tea Party Book  (which is full of beautiful photographs and recipes) although I’ve kept it mostly the same.

ginger and pomegranate cake 1

You will need:
125ml vegetable oil
150g flower
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
350ml of shredded carrot
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp diced ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
115g pomegranate seeds (from two pomegranates)
15ml water
100g  cream cheese
2 tbsp icing sugar

Step 1: Remove the pomegranate seeds from the pomegranates. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat and add the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. After two minutes, add the pomegranate seeds, 2 tbsps of sugar, and gradually add the water, stirring, until the mixture is a sticky syrup consistency, at which point take it off the heat.

carrot and pomegranate cake 4Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and the rest of the sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and yoghurt. Then, combine the flour mixture with the eggs mixture, the pomegranate syrup, and the grated carrot.

Step 3: Grease a baking tin, and pour in the mixture. Bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees C.

Step 4: Leave the cake to cool for twenty minutes, and then decorate with blobs of cream cheese, swirls of grated carrot, and icing sugar!ginger and pomegranate cake 3

Bon appetit 🙂 Have you done any baking recently? The chilly weather makes me want to bake lots of cake, but that isn’t helping my goal to eat more healthily. Carrot cake is one of your five a day, right?

5

Macarons Take One

Macarons are notoriously difficult to make. This was my very first attempt, and although they came out squidgy, wonky and a little brown, they were still delicious! My student kitchen is not baking-friendly. We have no scales, so i judge amounts by eye, and we have no whisk, spatula, rolling pin, cake tin, you name it! Usually improvisation works, but these macarons were too tricky for my student version of baking. I think I will try again at my parents house when I have access to scales and an electric whisk. Here’s what I did, and if you have a go, hopefully you can learn by my mistakes! I adapted my macarons recipe from this one.

Macaroons 1

You will need:

4 large egg whites
70g caster sugar
230g icing sugar
120g ground almonds
gel food colouring
200g dark chocolate
200ml double cream

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 150c and whisk the egg whites and the caster sugar together until they are stiff. They should form peaks, and not fall out of the bowl when tipped upside down – below is a demonstration of egg whites not falling out of the bowl. If you are whisking with just a fork, get some obliging friends / housemates to help you so that your arm doesn’t fall off 🙂Macaroons 2

Step 2: If you are using two seperate colours, seperate the mixture into two bowls and whisk one colour into each. Then fold in the ground almonds until the mixture is smooth but not runny.

Macaroons 3Step 3: Put your mixture into a thick plastic food bag, and cut off the corner. Then pipe your macarons onto grease proof paper and pop them into the oven for twenty minutes.

Macaroons 4

Step 4: To make the filling, just melt together the cream and cholcolate slowly over a low heat. Allow both the macarons and the chocolate filling to cool a little, and then spread the filling onto your macarons before sandqiching together.

Macaroons 5

Macaroons 6

For my next attempt, I will definitely be doing more research. There are some great resources on macaron making here and here. In other news, I HAVE FINISHED MY DEGREE! It feels SO sureal, I’m not really sure how to process the information. Here’s to adult life.