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Your favourite recipes this week

Looking for some baking inspiration this weekend? Check out what our most popular recipes have been this week.

mary berry
Mary Berry Chocolate Cupcakes

This Mary Berry chocolate cupcake recipe is pure chocolate indulgence. Children will love to decorate with chocolate strands and chocolate decorations.

The Ultimate Chocolate Brownie

These brownies are super gooey and delicious, made especially tasty by using Billington’s unrefined dark muscovado sugar.

red velvet cake Red velvet cake

This classic red velvet cake with cream cheese icing is just delicious. To achieve the classic bright red sponge we would recommend that you use red food colouring gel, the gel will hold its colour better when baked, simply add as much or as little as you need to reach your desired colour.

Rocky road Rocky Road

Who doesn’t love a slice of Rocky Road? Fluffy marshmallows, crunchy nuts and chunks of biscuits coated in melted chocolate it’s as simple as that. This cake is great fun to make with all the family and the best bit is you can personalise your cake by mix and matching the ingredients with your favourite sweets and biscuits.It also goes down well in the office too… if it manages to make it out of the house!


Homemade Shortbread

This buttery homemade shortbread recipe is so simple to make and delightful to enjoy on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Once you have tried homebake you won’t want to go back to shop bought biscuits. For an extra twist why not dip half of the shortbread in melted chocolate.

chocolate chip cookies

Simple chocolate cookies

Why not try these delicious chocolate cookies. Ideal to have with your afternoon cup of tea or as a treat at the end of a day.

Cookie, cookie, cookie

Cookie cup Recently, I have noticed a recurring trend on our Pinterest feed of creative ways to jazz up your cookies. One of my favourites is the cookie cup, so I challenged myself to try and recreate this interesting bake using our existing chocolate chip cookies recipe.

Cookies are one of my favourite things to bake as they are so quick and easy to make and only take minutes in the oven before they are ready to serve. I like to have some frozen cookie dough stored in my freezer for when surprise guests pop by for a “quick cuppa” too. If you roll the dough into a sausage shape before freezing you can simply slice into thick circles, pop on the baking tray and you will have fresh homebaked cookies in minutes.

I had seen a photo demonstration on Pinterest on how to bake cookies into a cup shape, so prepared a muffin tin whilst my cookie ingredients were mixing together in the bowl. I chose to lightly grease the muffin tin holes before adding the cookie dough for easy release, however if you have a good non-stick tray then this may not be necessary.

cookie mixtureOnce the dough was ready I began to fill each muffin tin with the mixture (a good tip is to not fill these too full, I made this mistake initially and cookie dough spilled out of the top!) I found it best to partially bake the cookie cup before trying to create the hole in the centre. I baked the dough for about 20 minutes, until they began to firm into shape. I then removed them from the oven and using a small shot glass carefully press down in the centre of each cookie. I found after my first attempt that lightly flouring the bottom of the shot glass will help with the release of the glass without too much dough being stuck to it. <mixture

I returned the cookies back to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes to firm up. I allowed the cookies to cool in the tin in order to hold their shape.

Now came the difficult decision – what to fill the cookie cups with? Melted chocolate, ice cream, whipped cream the possibilities were endless!

Cookie Cups recipe


135g unsalted butter
80g Unrefined golden caster sugar (we use Billington’s)
190g Plain white flour (we use Allinson)
100g Dark chocolate chips
80g Unrefined light muscovado sugar (we use Billington’s)
1 Egg(s) (free range) large
1 tsp Vanilla extract (we use Nielsen-Massey)
½tsp Salt
½tsp Bicarbonate of soda

STEP 1 – Preheat the oven to 170 C (gas mark 3) and lightly grease a muffin tin.
STEP 2 – Cream together the butter and both sugars until pale then add the egg and vanilla extract and mix together well.
STEP 3 – Sift in the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda and add to the butter sugar mixture and mix thoroughly until a dough forms, then stir in the chocolate chips.
STEP 4 – Fill the muffin tin holes 3/4 full with mixture.
STEP 5 – Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown.
STEP 6 – Remove from the oven and using a floured shot glass press down in the centre of the cookie to create a hole.
STEP 7 – Return to the oven to bake for a further 5-10 minutes
STEP 7 – Leave to fully cool in the muffin tin before removing.

Facebook baking hacks

mixer We recently ran a competition on our Facebook page (Baking Mad UK) asking our followers to share their top baking hacks. We were overwhelmed with the response and can’t wait to put some of these in to practice. See below some of our favourite tips.

“Always read recipes before you start to make sure you have all the ingredients that you need” Tracey Holden

“Take pics of your bakes to have a record” Claire Greensit

“Always dip mixed dried fruit in flour before adding to the mix stops them sinking to the bottom of the cake” Wendy Jane Proctor

“Listen to the cake if it “sings” to you it’s not ready and stick it back in the oven” Natalie Page

“A sure fire, quick & easy way to separate your eggs! Crack the egg into a bowl – then using an empty plastic pop / water bottle (I keep & use one of those 500ml water volvic water bottles) – squeeze the bottle neck over the yolk, then release the squeeze and suck the yolk up into the empty bottle – squeeze the bottle again to release the yolk into another bowl. Hey presto! No more faffing! “ Deann Rooke

“Buy an oven thermometer. Takes the guess work out and very precise.” Theresa Louise Cooke

“Whenever I’m making a recipe that uses raisins or currants, I cover them in some boiling water mixed with a (large!!) splash of whiskey! Cover the bowl with a saucer or cling film, and let them plump up a bit Delicious!” Louise McGhee

“It’s much easier to grate your butter into the mixture, especially if you need to cream it and you are doing it by hand” Caroline Smith

“If my cake fails, as long as it’s not raw it’s salvageable, break it into chunks & cover with angel delight! Top tip, the kids love it” Jackie Alderson

“Place a slice of bread in a container of freshly baked cookies to maintain their freshness “ Laura Elliott

“I always write the size of my cake tins on the bottom using permanent marker then cut (or at least mark out) a variety of liners and keep them inside each tin so I know immediately which liner fits. I cut yards of side liners and keep that on a roll so it’s easy to get stared on baking very quickly” Debbie Carr

“Put a tea towel across your cooling rack it stops line on your cakes” Jackie Heaton Baking Nanna

“When making cakes make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, also chill pastry before baking it stops shrinkage, finally LOOK OUT FOR SOGGY BOTTOMS!!!” Helen Huxley

“icing can hide a multitude of sins” Jess Powell

“Sprinkle semolina on the part baked base of an apple pie before filling. It soaks up all the lovely juices and makes ur pie easier to slice. Mmm….” Tina Higgins

“Roll out pastry (or biscuit dough) between sheets of cling film. No need for extra flour and so easy to lift into the tin without it tearing.” Michelle Blane

“I use vanilla extract in cakes to enhance other flavours such chocolate and coffee. It seems to intensify the flavour” Sally Tuson

“I once made a cake that sunk in the middle, I did not have time to make another so cut out the soggy bit and filled it with jelly beans, way before Piñata cakes became popular.” Sheena Dunn

“If cake has started to brown a bit and not cooked inside cover top of cake with foil works every time lovely golden brown cake then cool and cover with icing sugar.” Judy Bradbeer

Making Baking Simpler – Baking Hacks

Ever got half way through baking and realised that you have run out of an ingredient or not got the right piece of baking equipment that you need? Sometimes thinking outside the box and getting creative with other kitchen objects can be the difference between rescuing your baking and an ultimate #cakefail.

We have collected together some of our favourite baking hacks to share with you all.

#1 Can’t find your rolling pin?
A bottle of wine is a great temporary rolling pin (and you could even treat yourself to a cheeky glass afterwards)

#2 Forgotten to bring your eggs up to room temperature before baking?
Place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to bring the temperature up.

#3 Accidentally dropped a bit of egg shell in your cake mix?
Wet your finger. This will make it easier for the shell to stick to your finger when removing.

#4 Not got enough time to make buttercream?
Place a marshmallow on top of your cupcakes for the last 5 minutes of baking in the oven. The marshmallow will melt and create a deliciously fluffy topping.
muffin tin
#5 Want even shaped cookies?
Spoon the mixture into the holes of muffin tin this will create evenly sized cookies.

#6 Looking for an alternative cupcake decoration instead of buttercream?
Keep a cut off of lace fabric in your kitchen. Lay on top of each cupcake and gently dust with icing sugar to create a pretty design.

#7 Forgot to buy chocolate chips for your cookies?
Place a few squares of chocolate in a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin to make chocolate chunks.

#8 Burnt cookies/cakes are a thing of the past
If you have accidentally left your bakes in the oven too long, remove any burnt edges by lightly rubbing with a cheese grater.
piping bag 1
#9 Get in a pickle when filling a piping bag?
Place your piping bag in a large jug or glass and peel down the sides of the bag, freeing up both hands to fill the piping bag. When ready, gently roll up the sides of the piping bag and away you go.

#10 Cookies on the go
Make an extra batch of cookie dough and freeze in an ice cube tray for ready to bake cookies for those moments when surprise visitors pop by.
piping bag 2
#11 Run out of piping bags?
Fill a ziplock freezer bag with buttercream and snip off one of the corners for a handy alternative piping bag.

We would love to hear your baking hacks – feel free to leave a comment, post on our Facebook page Baking Mad UK or tweet us at @BakingMadUK.

Sky Badger Bake Sale Competition

sky badger We have teamed up with Sky Badger to share news of an exciting competition with you all.

Sky Badger is a charity that helps disabled children and their families in the UK find help and adventure by communicating the charities and services available through their website, information packs and e-helpdesk. The idea of Sky Badger was inspired by an imaginative little 7-year-old boy with special needs called Max who when playing Superheroes with his dad, used to tie a tea towel around his neck to magically gain superpowers.

If you or your little super-bakers would like to help this fantastic charity and enter the competition all you have to do is create a yummy allergy-friendly cake or treat to be sold at a Sky Badger bake sale and submit your recipe and photo via the online application form. Full competition details can be found here. edd kimber

The amazing top prize consists of £100 Sainsburys voucher for the winner, your recipe featured on, plus your school or group will receive £50 Sainsburys vouchers and a visit from the fabulous Edd Kimber, winner of the Great British Bake Off 2010.

“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Baking Mad and Sky Badger to help raise awareness and funds for this brilliant charity and baking is a great way to get people together and make a difference.” (Edd Kimber)

sky badget There are also fantastic 2nd, 3rd and runner up prizes too, so what are you waiting for? Whip out your apron, dust off your mixer and head over to the Sky Badger website to find out more.

Plus, don’t forget to check out our recipes for inspiration.

Easter Baking with Eric

Hello Baking Mad friends! Eric headshot

Yes, it is official, Spring is at our door steps so it’s time to pack away the greys and gloom of the beginning of the year. Like animals that hibernated through the winter we are all welcoming the happy seasons by swapping our dark clothes for much brighter ones! One perfect example was Her Majesty the Queen, who last week wore a chic apricot outfit and hat for the naming ceremony of the new cruise ship Britannia. If Her Majesty is ready for spring we should all be! By the way I was very honoured to be presented to the Queen and have a little chat in French with her as she is fluent, as was her mother and sister!

cheesecake Of course Easter is the unofficial start of the baking year and we have so many reasons to go Baking Mad. For me, I like to stay away from the obvious chocolate recipes as I get so many Easter eggs and treats I crave something fresh and light. So this year on my table I will serve a Vanilla Bean Baked Cheesecake served with a chunky fruit compote of blueberries and raspberries. Every year I also bake a “Pate De Paques”, a savoury pie classic from the Loire Valley in France. I use my grandmother’s recipe, as she was from this beautiful region. It is a mix of pork sausage meat and hard boiled eggs baked into a savoury short crust pastry, a great starter which brings lots of happy family memories! My main course will be lamb slow cooked in pesto and sun blush tomatoes #yum

And remember, if you are lucky enough to have too many Easter eggs or treats, you can gently melt them with some extra cocoa butter to use in your regular baking (you can get cocoa butter now in any Whole Food market or web site).

Have a fabulous Easter and go completely Baking Mad over the weekend to celebrate the official arrival of Spring!

Eric xx

Adding a Dash of vanilla with Eric Lanlard

Eric Salut Baking Mad friends!

When it comes to baking and patisserie, vanilla is certainly the most commonly used flavour. We all love the sweet and smoky flavour that comes from the vanilla bean. It is, of course, an absolutely essential ingredient in custards, sponges, ice-cream and desserts such as panna cotta. But there is so much more that you can do with this essential ingredient. panna cotta

I like using vanilla bean paste and by using a good quality extract or bean paste you are guaranteed a perfect flavour consistency. I adore vanilla and love experimenting with sweet and savoury recipes. A few years ago I discovered that vanilla is not just is a fantastic flavour enhancer, it will elevate the most simple tomato sauce or salsa to another level! It will even bring sweetness and a complex smokiness to smoked salmon. Adding bean paste to a rich gravy made with 99% pure cocoa and serving it with a roast fillet of beef is divine! NM shot with spoons

Of course there are some combinations that are made in heaven – any chocolate with vanilla, exotic fruits, rum cocktails etc. It is important to remember that you should always try to add your extract into a cold product so you don’t damage all the complex flavours and to ensure that your recipe gets the va va voom of your extract or bean paste.

So remember next time you are baking or cooking, just add a dash of vanilla!

Happy Baking!

Eric x

Say cheeeeeese (cake)

cheesecakeWe were very excited to be invited behind the scenes of a recent vanilla photo shoot with our friends from Nielsen-Massey and boy did it leave our mouth’s watering.

We learnt that just one little 118ml bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract holds 24 servings! That means that you can bake at least 24 delicious recipes before even thinking about stocking up your baking supplies. Now that’s what we call value for money.

And what’s more the vanilla experts at Nielsen-Massey have been busy developing 24 stunning vanilla recipes to share with you all right here at We were lucky enough to get a taster of some of their recipes during their photo shoot.

Simnel cake Spring was definitely in the air with the wonderful scent of warm Vanilla and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns and Easter Simnel Loaf Cake and we just couldn’t wait to tuck into the Carrot Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing and Vanilla, Raspberry and White Chocolate Sponge Cake, both were real showstoppers.carrot cake 2

We love using Nielsen-Massey in our recipes as only a small drop gives an amazing ‘mmmmmmm’ flavour of vanilla to our bakes; from vanilla classics such as baked Vanilla Cheesecake and Vanilla Swiss Roll right through to Vanilla, Rhubarb and Ginger Trifle, there is a recipe for everyone.

If you love Nielsen-Massey as much as we do head over to our competition page as this month we are offering 24 lucky winners the chance to win their own personalised bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract.

To learn more about how to use vanilla extract and get baking these glorious vanilla recipes visit the Nielsen-Massey page.

Happy Baking!
nielsen shot

Egg-citing Easter fun

chick cupcakes We don’t know about you but Easter really is one of our favourite seasons of the year. An extra-long weekend, chocolate eggs, time spent with the family – bliss!

This year, we have come up with lots of fun Easter related baking activities that work great if you are looking for that special gift for your loved ones or just trying to keep the little ones entertained during the school holidays.

We were lucky enough to have been sent some delicious dark chocolate Easter eggs (our favourites) from our friends at Green and Blacks and decided to get creative by customising our eggs.

Now we know you can go to specialist chocolate stores and pay for personalisation for friends and family but we felt like the homemade look gave it that extra special touch and it is so simple and fun to do.

eggs decoration
To create the icing we mixed up some Silver Spoon All-in-one Royal Icing sugar with a touch of water to give a nice, thick consistency. You can add a drop of food colouring if you like, pastel colours work really well, however we would recommend using slightly less water in this case so that your icing doesn’t become to runny.

We have shared our top tips for egg decorating below:

1. Don’t make your icing too runny (save behind some icing sugar to thicken your icing just in case)

2. Use a good quality Easter egg, if the egg is too thin if can break if you apply too much pressure.

3. Use a small piping nozzle inside your piping bag to create cleaner lines when piping

4. Balance the egg on a small ramekin or bowl to hold it in position when piping.

5. Make sure your icing has dried before you touch you egg so that you avoid smudging.

If you are feeling even more creative, we have a fantastic how to video with Juliet Sear demonstrating how to beautifully paint your Easter Eggs here.
baking kit

If you are looking to gift something different this year, why not make up your own unique Easter baking kits, using a jam jar filled with all the ingredients needed for an Easter biscuit recipe such as this delicious vanilla bunny biscuits tied up with a cute cookie cutter. This is a lovely gift for Mum’s and Grandma’s.
bunny cake

We have also been getting creative with Easter bakes recently. Our lemon chick cupcakes are real fun to decorate with the family and this Easter bunny chocolate cake makes the most indulgent showstopper cake to complete your Easter Sunday lunch.

hot cross Whilst we all probably grew up as children being encouraged not to play with our food, who could resist play a game of noughts and crosses with these yummy Apple, Cinnamon and Raisin Hot Cross buns? Don’t worry if you need some pointers on baking Hot Cross buns we have a great how to video right here. is brimming with Easter recipes so don’t forget to check out our homepage for some more inspiration.

How to have a flipping amazing Pancake Day

treat One of our favourite foodie seasons is almost upon us…Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday)

This is the perfect time to use up all those baking ingredients that have been lurking at the back of your food cupboard. Cease the opportunity to avoid wastage and turn them into something incredible – mounds and mounds of pancakes.

Here at we have teamed up with Askeys Treat to share with you our top tips and ideas to have the best Pancake Day ever!

treat ingredients The most important tip of all: Don’t forget to stock up on your ingredients, in particular, the all important toppings (Askeys Treat of course)

Have you tried Askeys Maple Syrup Treat sauce? If we had to describe it in one word it would be ‘yuuuuuuum’ This sauce is amazing on pancakes, but also really versatile and can be used to drizzle on bacon, top cupcakes, bake in flapjacks and even glaze your roast parsnips!

Once you have all your ingredients, it is then time to find your recipe. is packed full of wonderful Pancake Recipes so take some time to browse through and find a new favourite here.

pancake image

So! Ingredients purchased and recipe found, see below our secrets to make the perfect pancake.

1. Invest in a good quality non-stick pan (you will thank us for this later when washing up!)

2. Use a pastry brush or kitchen towelling to lightly grease the pan – too much butter means over-brown pancakes

3. Only mix your ingredients until incorporated – over mixing will lead to a rubbery pancake.

4. Stack your pancakes separated with greaseproof paper. They can even be made in advance and frozen.

5. For even sized pancakes use a measuring cup to pour out equal amounts of batter in your pan.

6. Your pancakes are ready to flip when the edges become brown and come away from the pan.

If you want to get the kids involved, the mixing of the batter is a really kid-friendly task (if you don’t mind a messy kitchen)

Also, whilst your frying the pancakes why not get the kids to take part in Pancake Day bingo. You can print off our simple bingo sheet here and get your little ones to cross one each square when it happens. Once your pancakes are complete, drizzle with Treat and enjoy!!

Pancake Bingo

treat sauces