Monday, 22 August 2011

Eating my way around the Lake District

I spent last week in the beautiful Lake District, going on walks, taking in the breath-taking scenary, and most importantly, sampling the local cakes and bakes. Here are a few of the delicious treats I got to try.....

These chocolate cakes were 12 inches in diameter and filled with layers of delicious.

Next up are lovely little fruit scones slathered with jam and cream - yum!

Pretty flower chocolate pops decorated with smarties in 'Relish' in Hawkeshead.

Deliciously moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from the Wild Strawberry Cafe in Keswick.

More scones - these beauties were huge and filled with cream and raspberry jam

Here are some of the delicious slices for sale at the farmer's market in Keswick

I couldn't resist trying the local specialty - gingerbread cake

It was so moist - I can't wait to try and make it.

This was the most divine eton mess - I just had to share it with you - from Cuckoo Brow in Sawry.....loaded with light meringue and blackberries.
Last is the Kendal mint cake. This treat was carried to the top of Mount Everest in May 1953, on the first successful expedition to the summit.This is the chocolate covered version - yum. If you want to make a Kendal mint cake for yourself here's the recipe:


  • 500g white granulated sugar
  • 150ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp of peppermint essence 
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate (melted)


Put sugar and milk into a saucepan and bring it slowly to the boil. Stir until the mixture becomes thick. You can test if it is ready by dropping a small amount into a glass of cold water and see if it forms into a soft ball when rolled between finger and thumb.

Remove from the heat and add the peppermint essence, then beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and slightly setting but still pliable. Pour mixture into a buttered shallow tin and leave it to set in the fridge. Once set, pour melted chocolate over it and leave mint cake to set in the fridge again before turning it out of the tin and cutting into thin bars. Store mint cake in an air-tight container. 

Happy baking x

Friday, 12 August 2011

Beetroot Brownies

I decided to take a break from cupcakes today and have ventured into the unknown world of brownies....I had some spare beetroots that I needed to use up so thought that a chocolate beetroot brownie would be a perfect solution to use up left over ingredients. I cannot get over how simple brownies are to make. If I had known this before I definitely would have tried to make them sooner. Here's how they turned moist and chocolatey.......

If you want to make these here's what you will need:

  • 4 medium beetroots
  • 100g unsalted butter 
  • 200g dark chocolate (I used 70% cocoa dark chocolate)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 110g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder

Peel the beetroot and roughly chop it into pieces. Place it into a large bowl and add a few tablespoons of water before covering it with cling film and microwaving it on high for 15 minutes or until tender. Note that the beetroot is likely to stain your fingers and cutting boards etc at this stage. Wear gloves to avoid pink fingers! 

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan). While the beetroot cooks, grease then line the base of a 20 x 30cm  baking tin or small roasting pan. Once the beetroot is cooked, tip it into a sieve to drain off any excess liquid, then put it into a food processor with the chocolate, butter and vanilla essence. Whizz until the mix is as smooth as you can get it. The chocolate and butter will melt as you do this. It's ok if your beetroot isn't pureed at ths stage. I personally like a few pieces of beetroot in the mix to give it a more rustic texture.

Put the caster sugar and eggs into a large bowl, then beat using an electric whisk until thick and foamy (normally about 2 mins on a high speed). Spoon the beetroot mix into the bowl then fold it into the whisked eggs with a spoon. Lastly sift in the flour and cocoa powder, then gently fold these in to make a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25 mins or until risen all over. The top of the brownie will have a nice crust and the centre will be moist and gooey. Cool the brownie in the tin, then cut into squares and serve with creme fraiche. Delicious! 

Happy baking xx

Monday, 8 August 2011

Lucky Girl

A couple of weeks ago I entered a competition on Torie Jayne's beautiful blog to win a voucher to spend at Anusha ......and I won! I'm so thrilled - all of the items for sale at Anusha are gorgeous, it was so tricky working out what to buy, but here's what I chose:

A pretty black polka dot umbrella. Love the girly frill around the edges!
A floral wrap-around top - perfect for summer days 

And these gorgeous sparkling earrings

For anyone looking for something pretty for themselves or as a gift - you should definitely check out the Anusha website. They are having a sale on at the moment as well - so get in quick to grab a pretty bargain.