Tuesday, 28 June 2011


First off, apologies for the title. There is no real excuse. 


 These are, as per usual, completely out of sync with real life time as I made these for my lovely sister's 21st birthday. Which was back in March. Nevertheless, I am slowly getting through my recipe posts as well as learning to juggle uni again, and this was next on the list before Easter rudely interrupted. The macaroons here probably won't get their own post, they were a first attempt and though they were rather tasty (if very cracked)I could definitely do better over the summer when I'm back in a place with an oven. Sigh. 

Sarah’s 21st birthday cupcakes
Roughly adapted from ‘cupcakes from the primrose bakery’ Martha swift and Lisa Thomas

110g unsalted butter
180g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla syrup (or vanilla extract)
120g self raising flour, sifted
100g plain flour, sifted
25g ground almond
125ml milk
25g desiccated coconut

110g unsalted butter
60ml milk
500g icing sugar, sifted (I used natural golden icing sugar here, which has a lovely slightly caramelly taste and gives a more golden, dusky pink to the icing)
Red food colouring
Desiccated coconut
(edible pink glitter optional)

Made about 36 mini cupcakes?? Or I estimate around 16 normal sized ones

Preheat oven to 180 for a fan
Cream butter and sugar together, add the eggs gradually and then vanilla syrup
In a separate bowl combine the two flours and almonds. Add small amounts of this and the milk in alternate steps to the butter mixture, beating after each until it’s all mixed in and then fold in the coconut.
Fill the cases and bake for around 15 minutes for mini ones, or 25 minutes for larger ones

Meanwhile to make the icing, beat butter, milk and half the icing sugar together with a hand whisk until its fluffy and creamy, then gradually add the rest (do it all in once and you’ll end up with a kitchen full of icing sugar clouds) add the colouring drop by drop towards the end of beating

When the cakes are fully cooled, pipe or spread the icing thickly and then sprinkle with generous amounts of coconut(and glitter or almond flakes or anything else you fancy) and leave to set slightly so they stick.

Before icing...not especially inspiring

After icing...I use a little syringe looking piping thing, but do whatever works for you

Messing about on a river

The Cherwell Boathouse
It's been all quiet on the blogging front for the past few weeks, as I've been caught in varying degrees of literary frustration, topped off by a week rushing round uni in a silly (read: wonderful) gown, blouse, and velvet ribbon combo...in short; I've had exams. Now however, first year is over and I am back in merry Cheltenham, ready to embrace the long-neglected internet.

Twice this term I've managed to go out on one of the two rather lovely rivers around town, and so thought I'd share some of my pics from the punting trips before launching into recipe and shop-find blogs again...Enjoy!

The conveniently placed pub just along the river from the Boathouse

That's all from the Cherwell Boathouse, early on in the term, about 2 weeks in. These next photos are from the Madgalen Boathouse, on my very last day. It was less sunny, and the river's a bit more overgrown, so a rather different atmosphere...

Monday, 6 June 2011

When is a crumble not a crumble?

Last week was just horrendously busy here, so I went home at the weekend to recuperate, and to bake! Obviously. So i have returned to the world of work refreshed, and complete with around 30 Oat and Raisin cookies, and many dense dark chocolate-cherry brownies. But in true Blackberryhorse fashion, I'm not going to blog about them today (mostly because I didn't take any photos this time around, so will have to make them again over the summer, what a pity, but trust me, they taste good) so here is an awfully out of season recipe for you instead, combining my loves of Christmas and crumbles...

Mincemeat crumble slices
Marks and Spencer sold similar things to these at Christmas, and so it being a matter of some urgency I made these over the Easter holiday. Naturally. This is adapted from the ‘strawberry and chocolate slices’ from M&S’s ‘Blissful Brownies’ (spy a theme in inspiration here?) using long neglected leftover mincemeat instead of jam, and with added almonds, dark brown sugar and even more oats.

225g plain flour (or self raising and omit baking powder)
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
100g oz caster sugar
85g oz soft dark brown sugar
225g oz butter
150g rolled oats
About 400g jar of mincemeat? (unfortunately my poor memory and guesswork fails me on this one, you needed more mincemeat than the weight of jam the recipe had because the bits in it deceive the scales)
1 oz Flaked almonds
1 tsp mixed spice

Heat the oven to around 190 fan, and line a deep sided baking tray
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugars, then add butter and mix until it’s all breadcrumby before mixing in the oats.
Press about ¾ of the mixture into your baking tray firmly and bake for about 10 minutes (it’ll rise a fair bit but will sink once out of the oven don’t worry!)
Once a bit cool, spread the mincemeat over the base. Mix the ground almonds, almost flakes and mixed spice with the rest of the floury mixture and sprinkle over the top
Put the whole thing back in the oven for 20-25 mins

Somehow managed to get the layers rather even!