Category Archives: Seasons

Crazy about Christmas jumpers

jumpers

There is no greater time of year to throw fashion-caution to the wind and dig out our favourite, over-the-top, colourful, gaudy Christmas jumpers. In my opinion the more garish, the better!

So imagine our delight when we found Christmas jumper biscuit cutters in our local Lakeland store. Not only do we get to wear jazzy jumpers now we can eat them too!

gingerbread

I used our trusted Gingerbread family recipe to make the biscuits, as I love the flavour that the Billington’s light muscovado sugar gives to the gingerbread – perfectly complimenting the ginger and gives a beautiful golden colour to the bake too.

A good tip if you are wanting to use these biscuits as tree decorations, use a thick straw to stamp out a hole in the neck of the jumper. This will give you room to thread the ribbon through. It is always handy to save a few straws next time that you have a sneaky fast food drive-thru as they often come in handy when baking/decorating.

i chose to decorate the biscuits with sugar paste icing as I love the bright, vibrant colours, but flooding with icing would work just as well.

If like me you don’t have the time to make up traditional royal icing with egg whites, the all-in-one icings available work equally as well. I particularly like the flavour and fineness of the Silver Spoon all-in-one royal icing sugar and it is really simple to make.

jumpers 2

The beauty of the Lakeland cutter is that they include 4 jumper designs; snowman, tree, bauble and snowflake. I loved getting creative with the different styles and mixing and matching the colours.

I think personalising the biscuits would be a lovely idea for a gift or even a quirky alternative place setting for your dining table on Christmas Day.

Mine were destined for the BakingMad.com Christmas tree. I wonder how long they will last there though before the mischevious Christmas elves (us) sneak a bite…

 

We have got Christmas all wrapped up!

sprouts present

Having recently blogged about the fabulous gifts available at BakerandMaker we are feeling rather smug with ourselves that all our Christmas gifts have been found, bought and are sat waiting to be beautifully wrapped and placed underneath the Christmas tree.

Now all we need to do is locate some beautiful gift wrap to dress up our presents and it will be ‘all stations go’ with our scissors, tape and ribbon.

Of course as we are BakingMad, we are loving all of the foodie wrapping paper available in stores right now and wanted to share with you our favourite picks.

john lewis

For an elegant foodie gift, perhaps for the grandparents, this stylish Mince Pie gift wrap from John Lewis would look beautiful underneath the Christmas tree.

£4.00 (3m)
www.johnlewis.com

notonthehighstreet

The kids are sure to love this adorable gingerbread man wrapping paper from notonthehighstreet.com almost as much as the gift inside (we do!)

£4.00 (5 sheets)
www.notonthehighstreet.com

xmas pud

This cheeky Marks and Spencer Christmas pudding wrapping paper is seriously cute and would be great to dress up a present for Mum and Dad.It is also a bargain roll with a whopping 8 metres!

£3.50 (8m)
www.marksandspencer.com

sprouts

Although not everyone is a fan of the real things served at Christmas dinner we simply cannot get enough of this fun Brussel Sprouts wrapping paper. If we could, we would get wallpaper made up of this quirky design.

£3.50 (3m)
www.paperchase.co.uk

With gift wrap this desirable we are not sure that we will even want to part with our gifts now! You will find us Christmas morning, foraging through the piles of disgarded paper to rescue this paper and ironing out for reuse next year!

For more Christmas wrapping inspiration, follow our BakingMad.com ‘wrapped up…’ board on pinterest.

All I want for Christmas is…

group shotChristmas shopping mania is in full force already this year and if you are anything like us you will be avidly searching for the ideal present for your loved one – well look no further we have found just the place to find your perfect gift!

We came across Baker and Maker at the recent Cake and Bake show in London and totally fell in love with pretty much everything on their stall. If you are shopping for a baker or a maker then you will be spoilt for choice from their vast collection of crafty treasures.

There really is something for everyone from a chic kitchen gift to a cute stocking filler. We have whittled down our top ten favourite picks and have been lucky enough to even give some of them a test run (it was a tough job, but someone has got to do it!)

For the keen baker…
apron

‘It’s a beautiful day apron’
£24.50

We think it’s always a beautiful day when there is something baking in the kitchen and this would be a great gift for a keen baker.

measuring cup

‘Ceramic botanical measuring cups’
£18.50

We just love the pretty designs on these measuring cups, both practical and elegant.

biscuit tin

‘Biscuit tin – beasties’
£14.95

No kitchen is complete without a tin to store your freshly baked biscuits in. The woodland themed designs are so cute too.

cake slice

‘Sparkly cake slice
£12.95

We cannot get enough of these glitzy kitchen accessories – a must have for any baking diva!

tea towel

‘Retro biscuit teatowel’
£11.50

We have a secret fondness for tea towels and coincidentally biscuits so we couldn’t resist adding this to our wishlist.

Stocking fillers …

unicorn

‘Unicorn sprinkle shaker’
£7.50

This had our inner child squealing with delight – a unicorn, that dispenses sprinkles for our cakes! Every baker simply needs one of these!

spoons

‘Ceramic song bird measuring spoons’
£5.95

This baking essential has an adorable song bird design that reminds us of the twitter bird. This would be a cute gift for a teenage baker also fond of tweeting.

cutters

‘Love bird cookie cutters’
£2.95

We would love to find these in our Christmas stocking, it would also make a wonderful Secret Santa gift for a baker.

Nice biscuit coasters

Nice biscuit coasters
£14.95

We think these coasters are more than just nice, they are adorable! Perfect for any biscuit lover, just no dunking!

Something for the little chefs…

Safari cutter

‘Safari cutters’
£6.95

This would be a really fun present to introduce little ones to baking, there are four charming designs to choose from hippo, giraffe, lion and elephant.

lunch box

‘Rusty the fox lunchbox’
£4.75

We just fell in love with this sweet lunchbox and can’t think of no better way to transport our homemade bread to work.

We have decided to spread the Christmas love and share these wonderful gifts out with our Facebook and Twitter followers during the Christmas period so don’t forget to follow us on Facebook Baking Mad UK and Twitter @BakingMadUK

We are off now to finish our own Christmas shopping at www.bakerandmaker.com

Merry Christmas!

Frightfully good fun

Frankenstein pop It’s October, the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in earlier. That can only mean one thing….Halloween is on its way. Whether you are a fan of guts and gore or tend to lead more towards a ‘Casper the friendly ghost’ type of celebration, Halloween can be fun for the whole family.

We think these spook-tacular Halloween pops are a great way to get everyone involved this year. Depending on how much time you have, you could opt for either the simple Frankenstein marshmallow pops or push the boat out with the Pumpkin and Ghost cake pops. We had some leftover cupcakes from a recent bake session which worked perfectly to make up our cake pops so gave these a try first.

A brilliant, kid-friendly task would be to get hands on and crumble the cakes up into a large bowl. Next add the buttercream and mix together until it begins to form a big ball, then it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get stuck in again rolling your cake pops. A good tip is to use an ice cream scoop to get an even sized ball each time – if you don’t have one of these to hand though don’t worry, you can always use a teaspoon. Cake pops stand

It’s important to leave your cake balls to chill in the fridge and firm up. This will make them much easier to stay in shape when you dip them in the chocolate coating.

There are many brands of coloured chocolate that you can use, such as Candy Melts and these can often be found in cake and craft stores. Be careful not to overheat them though as they can become congealed and difficult to work with. A handy tip if this happens is to drizzle a very small amount of oil into the chocolate to loosen it up again. Decorating cake pop

Sometimes the trickiest thing when making cake pops is to find somewhere to dry them. I used an empty, fairly shallow cardboard box and punched small holes in it using my leftover cake pops sticks. Make sure that the holes are at least an inch apart as cake pops like to lean a little when drying and you don’t want them to stick together.

Once dry, the fun part can begin…decorating. You can be as creative as you like and if you go wrong, don’t worry simply eat the cake pop and no-one will ever know!!

If you don’t have any spare cake to make the cake pops you can dip marshmallows and follow the process in exactly the same way. This works perfectly for the freakish Frankenstein pops and tastes just as yummy. Pumpkin pops

So what are you waiting for? Gather together your little ghosts and ghouls and get creative with our Halloween treats.

To try our BakingMad.com recipes click here.

Happy Halloween!!!

Perfect weather for strawberry picking!

Strawberries are everywhere right now! And as English strawberries are of course the tastiest,  the Baking Mad team recently decided to take a trip to a local strawberry picking farm – ‘Hill Farm‘ in Chesterton, so we could pick some for ourselves.

Thankfully it was a beautiful day as we set off, and driving up to the farm we saw that we could also grab ourselves some gooseberries while we were here, and come back again for some delicious blackcurrant and blackberries later in July.

Hill Farm

Blackberries

The strawberry fields were huge and the little signs showed us which strawberry varieties were planted there. ‘Christine‘ is apparently a strawberry type from the Fragria Ananassa species which is highly resistant to Verticillium wilt and powdery mildew, not that we’re exactly sure what that means!

Christine

There were tons of juicy ripe strawberries ready to pick, it was tempting not to eat them there and then although some of us did have a nibble.

Strawberry field

Strawberry

A top strawberry tip is to pick firm, ripe and red looking berries. Strawberries will not ripen any more once they are picked, so go for the biggest. Strawberries are also jam packed full of vitamin C, so you can eat as many as you want!

strawberries

A tub like this came to a total of £4 and would be sure to last you a while.

Weighing strawberries

About 1kg of strawberries could make some delicious strawberry jam to go in some tasty strawberry tarts. Or why not try some pretty strawberry tarts with elderflower cream or any of our other strawberry recipes.

Why not see if there is a local strawberry farm near you? Enjoy!

Jubilee Baking Ideas from Baking Mad.com

Want your Jubilee street party to be the talk of the town? Look no further than Baking Mad.com! We’ve got all the right ingredients to help you celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in style. From red, white and blue jubilee cupcakes to individual crown cakes and a traditional Victoria Sponge Cakewe’ve got plenty of jubilee recipe ideas for everyone to enjoy making and eating!

And now Silver Spoon Create have made it even easier to get that Great British look with the introduction of their brand new Red and Blue Coloured Ready to Roll icings. Perfect for modelling and covering cakes these special edition icings are sure to offer plenty of baking inspiration for the Royal celebration.

Red, White and Blue Icings

The new coloured icings are available in Sainsbury’s now and we’ve already been busy experimenting with them in the Baking Mad kitchen. What do you think to our glorious Union Jack Victoria Sponge cake?  If you want to recreate the look at home simply visit the recipe page here and don’t forget to download our Union Jack template too!

Union-Jack-CakeUnion-Jack-Cake

Happy baking! xx

 

Top Tips for Terrifyingly Tasty Treats

Spooky Halloween CupcakesAt Baking Mad we never need an excuse to get creative in the kitchen, but with Halloween fast approaching what better occasion could we ask for?

Whatever terrifyingly tasty treats you’re hoping to bake, here’s our top tips to help make your Halloween a spooky success.

Be Prepared
No matter what you are baking this Halloween, make sure you’re well equipped for the occasion. You’ll need an array of gruesome food colourings, icings and cake toppers. SilverSpoon Cakecraft do a fantastic range of edible decorations and have everything you need to lift your baking from the so-so to the seriously impressive. From chocolate letters and numbers, to sprinkles and bejewelled jelly drops, the only limited is your imagination!

Trick or Treat
Why not try mixing up a batch of ghoulishly great cupcakes for your trick-or-treaters? Often more economical than buying sweets, home baked goodies are sure to go down a treat and could earn you a reputation as the coolest neighbour on the street. Our Scary Halloween Cupcakes are perfect for trick-or-treaters. Easy to make and so much fun to decorate these scrummy cakes are sure to be well received by all kids- big or small.

Waste Not, Want Not
When you are carving up your pumpkins for Halloween, make sure you keep the delicious filling and make use of it in your cooking. Healthy, versatile and delightfully tasty, pumpkin can be incorporated into a whole host of treats, both sweet and savoury, from hearty pumpkin soup to moreish pumpkin cookies. Fancy giving it a go? Why not try out our delicious Pumpkin Pie recipe.

Pumpkin Pie

A hearty pumpkin pie is a great way to make the most of Halloween left-overs

So what will you be baking this Halloween? Don’t forget to upload your photos to our Facebook page and share your spooky recipes with us!

Beating the January Blues

We are only on the 13th January, but with all this rain and dark mornings/nights, January really is taking its toll!
At Baking Mad we thought we would pull together some (realistic) ideas for beating those winter blues.

1. We know you want to diet, but don’t cut out all your treats. Life is too short. Why not try these low calories recipes as an alternative
2. Eat breakfast eveyday. Its the best way to set you up for the day ahead. If you are in a rush, why not try these Bacon and Cheese Muffins. You can even freeze them to ensure you never run out.
3. Keep eating small regular meals to keep your energy levels up.
4. Go for a walk in your lunch hour. Walking is a good form of exercise and it even exposes you to a little bit of sunshine (when its out).
5. Socialise. Meet up with friends. Make contact through Facebook with old friends. Or make new friends in commmunities. Join a club like the Baking Mad club

Christmas Classics

We thought at Baking Mad is would be great to have a collection of all those delicious classics we all love to bake at Christmas. These simple to follow recipes are a great way of starting our in the kitchen at Christmas. If you want a fool proof Christmas Cake that will be a favourite in your family our recipe is perfect for you.
We also have stollen and panettone recipes with make the perfect gift at this festive time

If you want to have a go at these recipes but would like a little helping hand which not visit our top tips section. You are not alone in the kitchen this Christmas Baking Mad are always on hand to help