Sunday, February 24

Belated Valentines Bakes

As you may have seen from my earlier post, last week was my 19th birthday on Valentines Day, (WOOO!)
I had the most incredible time with both my uni and old school friends; whilst doing a lot of baking through out the day. Perfect plan if you ask me!
I promised you the recipes to my little romantic creations and ,oh, I do hate to disappoint.

So, even though a bit belated, here is my guide to making your own fabulous...

"Vanilla Heart Biscuits and Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes"

Deliciously tempting!
Both are very, very simple and don't take too much time at all; perfect as it gives you more time during the day to gobble them all up!

First, the lushious, golden cupcakes!

To make your own sweet cupcake batch you will need:

- 110g softened butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 150g self raising flour
- 125g plain flour
- 120ml milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g chopped strawberries

(For the icing):
- 115g softened butter
- 60ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 500g icing sugar
- (if using- a few drops of food colouring)

Preheat your oven to 180C/160 fan and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases.
In a big mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy and pale. It might be easier to use an electric mixer for this as it will otherwise take a while!

Sift the flours in a separate bowl; and in another measure out the vanilla extract and milk. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat well. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture and beat well once again.

Keep on following these steps until your have used all your ingredients and have a thick, velvety, creamy batter. Yummy!

Chop the stalks off your strawberries and cut them into chunks. Tip them into the batter and mix well with your spoon/spatula.

Spoon the batter evenly into your 12 cupcakes cases and pop into the oven for about 25 minutes until risen and golden. Simples!

You could easily just eat these like this; naked, warmed with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream. But I thought that I should cover them up a little... the cheeky blighters.

Once cooled, mix your butter, vanilla extract, milk and icing sugar together in a mixing bowl until thick, creamy and is easily holding it shape.

I decided to add a few drops of pink food colouring to mine, just to give it that extra romantic edge! But typically for strawberries and cream cupcakes, I would just leave it natural to compliment the rosy, red strawberries on top.

I whipped out a piping bag and iced each cupcake before crowning with a twisted strawberry for a bit of decoration. You obviously do not have to use a piping bag as it can just be a right kafuffle, but I thought it was a bit more decorative compared to hand spooning the icing on.

Not too shabby at all, and finished in under an hour! Fab!

But alas, there ain't no rest for the wicked!
Time for the biscuits which will crumble your heart!

 To make your own you will need:

- 90g softened, unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I tweaked the recipe to spice it up a bit this time by swapping for 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 200g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- 2-3 tblsp hot water
- 200g icing sugar
- decorations and/or food colouring

Preheat your oven to 180C/160 fan and line one or two baking trays with parchment.
In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat well.

Fluffy, thick and creamy!
In a separate bowl, combine the salt, flour and baking powder before adding this to your creamy batter. (Here I added 1 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, just to give it a kick, but otherwise ignore this if plumping for the classic vanilla crunches!)
Fold in the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms. Roll this into a ball when combined, before flattening slightly into a fat disk. Pop this into the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
(Prime time right here to ice your cupcakes!)
Once the timer is up, place your disk of dough on a floured surface, sprinkle lightly with flour and roll out to about 1cm thick.

I used a heart cutter to play on the Valentines vibe, but you could use any sort of cutter at all. Perfect if you fancy being a bit nutty or creative!

Place these onto the baking trays and bake for 8-12 minutes until they are golden around the edges, then leave them to cool completely.

Once cold, mix your water and icing sugar until you have a thick paste, you could add some food colouring too if you want to brighten up your colours a bit.

Use a spoon to spread the icing onto each biscuit and decorate how ever you fancy!
Perfect for children or for adapting to different occasions as you can choose your shapes or decorations to suit!

Time to get nibbling!

I hope these are a little bit of a 'pick me up' in the middle of this icy weekend!
Perfect for a nibble with a steaming cuppa or a belated present for your special someone! Just don't go breaking their hearts... unless its a biscuit one, then snap it away and steal it for your own brew.
Mwah ha ha!


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