Pumpkin Pie vs Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Pie vs Pumpkin Cake

I love pumpkin pie. I couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving without it. But, my children are not fans. But I figure if I make it every year, they will grow to love it. This year, I had planned on cooking my usual Thanksgiving feast: turkey, roasted sweet potatoes, mash potatoes, corn bread and green beans. And of course pumpkin pie. But my sinus infection had other ideas. I’ve been poorly for over a week. And with Husband working late every night for the past two weeks (and working on the weekends), I decided that there would be no Thanksgiving feast this year.

But even without a feast, I needed my annual pumpkin pie fix. So this year I thought I would try baking a pumpkin cake alongside the pie, and see if either could tempt my children. So, which one will they prefer? I normally buy a pre-made pie base, but this year used the recipe from Flora for a base (and the pie itself). I was quite pleased with the results.

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Baking with Betty Crocker

Baking with Betty Crocker

Normally when we bake, we bake from scratch. The downside of this is that little Dubz never gets to join in. The thought of having to measure everything, while making sure he doesn’t tip flour and sugar all over the flour–it does not appeal. So when Betty Crocker sent us some cake and cookie mixes, I thought this would be a good chance to bake with BOTH of the kids.

First off, we made some brownies. Dubz poured in the oil and water, and he loved mixing it all together. Moozles helped him by holding the bowl. I am not sure what they enjoyed more: licking the spoons or eating the brownie after it had been baked.

Baking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty Crocker

I wish I had seen the recipe for these Christmas Tree Brownies before we made ours. These are just too cute!

Betty Crocker Christmas Tree Brownies Recipe

We also made the white chocolate chip cookie mix. These were so easy as all you needed to do was add water. We combined everything, then made half of the mixture. I put the other half in cling film, and left it in the fridge. I made that half the following day, and added dark chocolate chips. I would like to say that I ate the second batch of cookies with my family. But I didn’t. I ate them. All. By. Myself.

Baking with Betty Crocker Baking with Betty Crocker

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, as Moozles recovered from her adenoidectomy, we made a vanilla sponge cake from scratch. I then let her use the Betty Crocker icing to frost and add sprinkles to her heart’s content. It wasn’t the kind of cake you’d find on Bakerella but Moozles felt proud. Sometimes, baking isn’t just about a masterpiece. It is about the time spent together. Making something, that makes you feel happy. And proud.

Baking with Betty Crocker Baking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty Crocker

 

 

 

We were sent some boxes of Betty Crocker cake and cookie mixes, as well as icing, for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

Jack Skellington Cupcakes

My six-year old daughter, Moozles, is beyond excited at the prospect of Halloween. So this weekend we put up some decorations and did some baking. I have recently renewed my relationship with Pinterest. And after a browse, Moozles decided that these Jack Skellington cupcakes were what she wanted. There is obviously not much instruction there, so I thought I would share what we did.

Whenever I ask what kind of cake we should make, everyone asks for chocolate. So, I make my Husband’s favourite chocolate cake recipe (if I make chocolate cake for kids, I use a more kid-friendly recipe). Since my family members are chocoholics, they can handle this fudgey cake. This cake is easy to make, and easier to decorate – perfect for baking with kids.

Chocolatey Fudge Cake
175g self-raising flour
280g caster sugar
100g butter (room temperature)
3 large free-range eggs
50ml whole milk (I use Lactofree)
40g cocoa powder
6 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven 160C (fan-assisted)/190C. 
Mix all the ingredients, apart from 
the last three. In a separate bowl, 
blend the cocoa powder and the boiling 
water, then add to the rest of the mixture. 
Add the baking powder and mix.

This can be baked as 12-15 cupcakes or in two 8-inch cake pans. 
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan before icing.


Buttercream Icing
180 icing sugar
90g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix half the icing sugar with the rest of the ingredients. 
Once that is blended, add the rest of the icing sugar. 
I use a hand blender for icing. 
I use a tea towel to cover the bowl so that my kitchen 
isn't covered in icing sugar. Spread  the icing onto the cupcakes.


To decorate the cupcakes:
You could use black gel food colouring to make the eyes, nose and mouth.
I happened to have leftover Renshaw   ready to roll icing, from Lakeland. 
I cut it up into bits and let Moozles add them to her cupcakes. 
The beauty of these cupcakes is that  they do not need to look perfect.

Jack Skellington CupcakesJack Skellington CupcakesJack Skellington CupcakesIMG_7653Jack Skellington CupcakesJack Skellington CupcakesJack Skellington CupcakesJack Skellington CupcakesJack Skellington Cupcakes

 

 

 

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake is Husband’s third favourite kind of cake. So a couple of weeks ago, when I wanted to butter him up for something, I baked a loaf. The recipe is based on Mary Berry’s recipe, but with some tweaks. My son is barely two years old, so he was not much help. He did enjoy sucking some lemons while I did all of the work. And when Husband arrived home that evening, he was putty in my hands. Cue evil laughter.

Lemon Drizzle Cake
175g margarine/soft butter
250g caster sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
250g self-raising flour (sifted)
3 medium free-range eggs
4 tbsp whole milk (I use Lactofree milk because my son and I have lactose sensitivities)
1 level tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-assisted). Grease and line 2 x 1lb loaf tins. Cream butter and sugar and mix in all ingredients. Divide between the two tins and bake for about 35 mins – test that it is ready by seeing if a toothpick comes out clean.
Let loaves cool for 10 minutes, then prick all over with a toothpick.
Mix 70g granulated sugar with the juice of one lemon. When you squeeze the lemon, it should be room-temperature. If it’s cold, cut it in half, pop into the microwave for 5-10 seconds, then you can squeeze the lemon much more easily. Spoon lemon and sugar mixture over the 2 cakes. Leave to cool in the tin.
* I take the remaining lemon and cut it into wedges, then freeze it. Perfect for adding to gin/vodka tonic, Pimms or even to some hot water.

IMG_1214 IMG_1220 IMG_1225 IMG_1240Lemon Drizzle CakeLemon Drizzle Cake

 

Yummy Scrummy Cupcakes

The only thing my daughter loves more than baking cupcakes, is eating cupcakes. So when the people over at Flora asked me to bake with their new Flora Great for Baking Block and to blog about it, how could I refuse?! I was able to get the Flora baking block with my Tesco grocery delivery at the weekend. I was pleased with the price, £1.00 for a 250g block. For baking, I normally buy the Waitrose Essential block of salted butter, which costs £1.32 for a 250g block. 

Though price matters, ultimately taste is what we care about in our cake-crazed household. So my six-year old daughter, Moozles, and I put on our matching aprons and began baking. I let Moozles pick what kind of cupcake and icing we made. I had her look through a couple of recipes books, but she said she wanted to make a Mary Berry recipe because Mary Berry has the best cakes. Yes, I am teaching my daughter well. Moozles chose vanilla cupcakes and chocolate buttercream icing (we are die-hard buttercream fans). The chocolate icing is a recipe I have used for years, but adapted, from the BBC cooking website. It is my favourite icing recipe.

So, how did it turn out? Both the cupcakes and icing turned out quite well. Moozles had loads of fun decorating the cupcakes. I think she did a fab job! I would like to say that my two-year old, Dubz, was helpful too. But he basically just spooned icing onto his face and tried to climb over the table to grab more. Husband, who is a proficient bowl-licker, told me that it was the best icing I had ever made. Hand on heart, he asked if I had used a new recipe or whether it was the Flora. He wasn’t kidding, he scoffed three cupcakes in about five minutes. Moozles said it was ‘delicious’ (she only had two). Who can argue with those reviews?!
Yummy Scrummy Cupcakes Yummy Scrummy Cupcakes Yummy Scrummy Cupcakes Yummy Scrummy Cupcakes Yummy Scrummy Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes
100g Flora Baking Block (or butter)
150g Caster Sugar
150g Self-Raising Flour
3 tbsp Whole Milk
2 large Eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
 
Preheat oven to 160C for fan-assisted (or 180C). Cream sugar and Flora (or butter) then add the rest of the ingredients. Moozles and I mixed everything with a spoon. Spoon into cupcake or muffin tin, bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven.
 
This recipe makes 12 small fairy cakes or 8 proper cupcakes (American-size). We made nine this time, and there just wasn’t enough batter.
 
 
Chocolate Buttercream Icing
110g Flora Baking Block (or butter)
180g Icing Sugar
40g Cocoa Powder (sifted, but not a big deal if it isn’t)
2 tbsp Whole milk
I actually halved this recipe to accommodate the small amount of cupcakes being made above
 
Use a hand mixer to mix it all up. It should only take 30 seconds. My top tip for mixing icing–place a big tea towel over the bowl before you start mixing so that icing sugar does not fly everywhere. 

 

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