Tag Archive | birthday

Happy Birthday Me!

I’m another year older and for the first time, I actually feel wiser! I’ve done so much over the last year, started and new job AND started researching for my dream of having my own teashop.  No doubt the next year of my life will be just as busy and exciting. Whatever happens, I can guarantee that there’ll be cake along the way!

So what better way to celebrate than by making my own birthday cake.

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Chocolate Celebration Cake

Ingredients:
200g good-quality plain chocolate, chopped
200g butter
100ml water
125g self-raising flour
125g plain four
25g cocoa powder
200g light muscovado sugar
200g golden caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
75ml/2½fl oz crème fraîche

For the vanilla buttercream icing:
100g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
vanilla
milk, to loosen

For the topping:
200g dark chocolate
100g butter
40ml tblsp water
1 punnet of strawberries

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Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line two 8in sandwich tins.

Melt the chocolate, butter and water together in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, sift the flours and cocoa powder into a bowl and mix in the muscovado and caster sugar.

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Beat the eggs and crème fraîche together in a separate bowl, then beat in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour mixture until smooth.

Divide the cake batter between the tins and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, for the vanilla buttercream, beat the butter in a bowl until soft, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the vanilla  and add a few drops of milk if the mixture is a little stiff.

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For the ganache I used the recipe on the back of the Dr Oetker Extra Dark Chocolate pack.

Put 200g chopped Dr. Oetker 90% Chocolate into a heatproof bowl with 100g unsalted butter and 40ml water. Put over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until melted. Remove from the water and cool for about 20 minutes to thicken.

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Put a cake on a wire rack over a large plate. Spoon ganache over the top, letting it run down the sides. Tap the wire rack to smooth the surface.

Finally, I covered the top of the cake with a punnet of fresh strawberries.

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I’ve been spoilt rotten with cards, presents and flowers. I’m truly blessed.

Melissa xx

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Banana, Ginger and Golden Syrup Loaf

It was Daddy’s birthday at the weekend, so I was on the hunt for something tasty that he could have with a cuppa to celebrate. I knew I couldn’t go down the normal chocolaty, sugary, creamy route because he’s not into that sort of thing, so instead I looked for inspiration using fruits and spices.

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Birthday loaf

I adapted a recipe from Rachel Allen’s lasted book ‘All Things Sweet’; the Banana, Ginger and Golden Syrup loaf looked perfect. This is how I made the loaf…

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ingredients

Ingredients:

110g unsalted butter

50g caster sugar

100g golden syrup

25g ginger syrup from jar

2 eggs

125g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

4 balls stemmed ginger

2 bananas, mashed

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mix

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 2lb loaf tin. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft and add in the golden syrup and ginger syrup. Beat the eggs in, one at a time- the mixture will look “sloppy” as Rachel mentions. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold in.

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banana and ginger

Finally chop the ginger and mash the bananas and add into the mixture. Pop the loaf into the oven for about 45 minutes until golden brown.

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ginger

A really simple tea time loaf, perfect with a cup of birthday tea!

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birthday loaf

Melissa xx

Chocolate chip sponge and M&M Birthday cake

Yesterday was my Godson’s birthday! Like all children, he’s growing up fast and his tastes and interests have changed along the way.

For his 2nd birthday I made a Mickey Mouse birthday cake and he loved it! He was obsessed with that Mickey Mouse Club House tv show….

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I can’t put my hand on his 3rd birthday cake photos, but I vividly remember making a monkey cake- he was going through an animal phase!

His 4th birthday cake was all set to be a Spiderman cake, until I spoke to him the morning of his birthday…. when he asked “are you bringing me a dinosaur cake”? I nearly died! What could I say? I frantically remoulded the sponge and painted some fondant icing green!

He loved it! Phew…..

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So yesterday, I played it safe and decided to make a sweetie covered cake……

I knew it would need to be a slightly heavier sponge then normal, as it would need to hold all the decorations. So I decided to use a basic sponge recipe with yummy chocolate chips through it.

For the cake:
200g caster sugar
200g softened butter
4 eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
3-4 drops of blue food colouring
125g bag chocolate chips

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Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, I turned the rayburn off! Butter two 20cm tins and then line with non-stick baking paper.

In a bowl, mix all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft blue chocolate chip batter.

Divide the mixture between the two tins, smooth the surface with a spatula, then bake for about 20 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when pressed.

Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

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Sandwich the cakes together with chocolate butter icing and then covered it with blue buttercream.

Chocolate buttercream filling:
110g butter, softened
170g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder, sifted
1-2 tbsp milk

Blue buttercream:
140g butter, softened
280g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
few drops food colouring

For both buttercreams, mix all the ingredients in a bowl, adding more milk if needed to get a smooth texture.

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All that was left to do was cover the WHOLE cake with M&M’s!

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It took about an hour to cover it, but it was well worth it. I’m sure it would work just as well with any other sort sweetie or chocolate.

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Just a candle to finish it off….

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Who knows what I’ll be making next year???

Melissa xx

A sweet surprise…

Once upon a time there lived an amazing woman; cook, house keeper, cleaner, doctor, nurse, chauffeur, banker, teacher, nuturer, disiplanarian….

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My Mother is AMAZING! So last Sunday, after months and months of planning, I threw her a surprise 60th birthday luncheon. Gathering all our close family in one room to celebrate her birthday was a task and a half, but it was well worth all the texts, emails and telephone calls!

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At the end of the meal I unveiled a candy table full of her favourite sweeties. I knew we wouldn’t need any more food after a gorgeous three course lunch, but I thought it would be nice to give everyone a little personalised goodie bag to take home.

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For weeks I googled ‘candy table’, reading other peoples advice, their do’s and dont’s. I must have looked at hundreds of images of elegantly dressed tables with jars of coloured sweets and cupcakes.

Once I had decided on a pink theme, I set about gathering bags and boxes of Mum’s favourite jellies, chocolates, boiled sweets and marshmallows.

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I ordered personalised candy bags and jar tags from etsy. I bought matching raffia ribbon to tie around the candy jars.

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The jars came from The Glen House pantry; having chucked them in the dish washer, I wrapped raffia around them and hung the personalised tags.

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We had chocolate covered brazil nuts, mini eggs, walnut whips, marshmallows, wine gums, haribo jellies, army and navy cough sweets, rhubarb and custards, oooh and ferrero rocher’s!

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I set out the pretty jars of sweets at the luncheon, alongside a framed note, candy scoop and candy bags.

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It was a delightful to watch the table being raided by the family.

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“Happy 60th Birthday Carol” candy bag

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I wrote a personalised thank you note, inviting everyone to help themselves to Mum’s favourite sweets.

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Ssssh, these ones were mine….

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Happy 60th birthday Mum!

Melissa xx