Tale As Old As Time Afternoon Tea at The Kensington Hotel

I might be a little late to the party, but on Sunday I finally had my opportunity to go to the Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea at The Kensington Hotel in London, having had it booked for months.

We arrived at the hotel about half an hour early, but due to a few cancellations they managed to get a table ready for us well before our set time – although a little miscommunication meant we were sat at our table for quite a while before someone actually came to take our drink orders. I’m not really a tea drinker, so despite a big selection of teas to choose from, I chose one that I knew would be a safe bet: Wild Rooibos.

The tea came out pretty quickly, and was followed with a plate of little appetisers – a mini cheese souffle, a little pie and little breaded ball of beef ragu – all three of which were delicious and I was a little sad to only get one of each because I could have eaten them 10 times over. Once our plates were cleared, the main event was brought out..

The tea stand was accompanied by Lumiere and Mrs Potts (who was filled with cream), and consisted of finger sandwiches, sweet baguettes and the gorgeous themed desserts on top. The sweet baguettes weren’t really my thing, but the sandwiches were good and I was primarily there for the desserts!

Inside the adorable little Chip teacups was the famous Grey Stuff, which was indeed delicious and my favourite of all the desserts. The Cogsworth tart was also incredibly cute but very very rich and had marzipan in it which I’m not a fan of, and having eaten both of the portions of Grey Stuff, I couldn’t quite finish him! There was also a little coconut macaron ‘snowball’, which was a nice light option, and finally a clear jelly containing the last rose petal.

After finishing the tea, we were brought a wrapped biscuit – which was iced to look like Belle’s ballgown – to take home, but with the tea room being fairly quiet, we ended up staying at least an hour after we’d finished eating. We were there for at least 3 hours, so definitely made an effort to get our money’s worth out of it!

Hidden Mickey Fudge

I don’t know about anyone else, but something I always have to to when I visit Disneyland Paris is stop off on Main Street and buy some fudge, and when I say some, I mean a lot. Its tradition.

So I decided to make some fudge, but if you know anything about me and my baking habits, I like to throw a little surprise into my creations, so I present to you.. Hidden Mickey fudge!

Hidden Mickey fudge

First up, make the chocolate fudge:

  • In a saucepan, mix together 400g chocolate (I used half dark and half milk, but either or any combo will do!), a tin of condensed milk (a standard one is 397g) and 25g butter.
  • Melt this all together over a low-medium heat, then sift in 100g icing sugar and stir in
  • Pour this mix into a lined 8 inch square tin, then pop in the fridge for at least an hour

Hidden Mickey fudge

Once the chocolate fudge is set, turn it out onto a fresh sheet of greaseproof paper, and using a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter, cut out as many mice as you can. Line a standard sized loaf tin with paper, and stack the cut-outs into a sort-of Mickey sausage from one end of the tin to the other.

Hidden Mickey fudge

Now, the vanilla fudge (this one takes a little longer!):

  • In a larger saucepan – the bigger, the better – combine another tin of condensed milk with 450g demerara sugar, 150ml milk and 115g butter.
  • Heat this until its all melted and combined, then ramp up the heat, and simmer for about 15 mins, stirring continuously. This will get super hot and bubbly, so keep children well away in case it spits out.
  • Boil until the temperature reaches 118C on a candy thermometer, or the mix starts to form a sort-of soft ball in the pan, then remove from the heat, and keep stirring quickly until the mixture thickens
  • Pour this mix over your Mickeys, then pop the pan in the fridge for at least 90 mins.

Hidden Mickey fudge

Ready, set, slice!

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Baking Magic – Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

When it comes to snacks and desserts at Disney parks, everyone’s got their favourites, right?

Out of those favourites, we tend to have the favourites that you can get everywhere – popcorn, churros etc – and the ones that you savour in certain locations. Today’s recipe is one of the latter.

Sunshine Seasons inside The Land at Epcot ranks pretty high in my favourite quick service restaurants, and if its not the Mongolian beef that gets my taste buds excited (YUM), its the red velvet whoopie pies that keep me coming back again and again, so today I decided to make them!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1 oz dark chocolate and 1/2 oz milk chocolate together, and mix to combine the two.
  2. In a separate bowl, melt 3/4 cups butter, then whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 tsps white wine vinegar and a splash of vanilla extract. Add red gel or paste food colouring until the mix is a nice shade of reddy-pink.
  3. In another bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups plain flour, 1 cup caster sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Pour in the red mix bit by bit and whisk until smooth, then stir in the melted chocolate mix.
  4. Cover a baking tray in greaseproof paper, and spoon the mix into 2 inch round circles, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

  1. While the whoopies are cooling, make the cream cheese filling by whisking together 125g cream cheese and 50g butter, then sift in 300g icing sugar and mix until smooth, then refrigerate until ready for sandwiching.
  2. Once cooled, pair up the whoopies and stick them together with a good helping of the frosting, then roll the edges in chocolate chips to finish!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

What are your favourite park treats?

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Treat Yourself – Pastel Dream Cheesecake

For a lover of bright and bold colours, I’m surprisingly obsessed with pastels right now.

So I’m scrolling through Pinterest, looking for pins for my new Pastel Dreams board, when I came across this ADORABLE cheesecake from SprinkleBakes, and I knew I had to give it a go – with my own twist, of course!

Pastel Cheesecake

You’ll need an 8 inch springform pan (I used a silicone one which made getting it out a little tricky!), an electric mixer – handheld or stand based – and plenty of bowls and spatulas at the ready!

To start off, I made my favourite cheesecake base: Oreos! Crush up 250g, and mix with 40g melted butter until its nice and sticky, then press into the base of your tin, making sure to get it nice and even. Pop this in the fridge for now.

Pastel Cheesecake

Next up, make the cheesecake mix. I stuck to the SprinkleBakes recipe:

  • Whip 1 3/4 cups of whipping cream in a glass bowl. Once it starts to thicken, gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form
  • Give 10 oz. cream cheese a good stir to make sure its nice and soft, then beat this into the cream bit by bit, then add 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle 1 tsp powdered gelation over 1 tbsp water, and let it absorb fully – about 2-3 minutes – before blitzing it in the microwave for 10 seconds, then folding it into your cheesecake mix
  • Divvy the mix up into three bowls, then using gel food colouring, tint the mixes into your favourite pastel shades. I really wouldn’t recommend using liquid colouring here!

Ok, this is where I deviated from SBs technique a little..

Inspired by another pastel favourite of mine, Flumps, I bought a load of the extra long ones and cut them up into 1.5 inch lengths, although if you can get shorter ones you’ll save yourself a job!

Pastel Cheesecake

Take the base out of the fridge, and very carefully stand the marshmallows around the edge of the base – don’t worry, they’ll hold up fine once you start filling it with cheesecake mix!

Pastel Cheesecake

Pile in your first colour, then smooth it out carefully with a palette knife, and repeat with all your other colours. Get this into the freezer now, and leave it for a good hour or two to set nice and solid.

I recommend taking it out of the freezer about 20-30 minutes before serving; it makes it a lot easier to remove from the tin, and cleaner to cut!

Pastel Cheesecake

Pastel Cheesecake

Dreamy, right? Another great reason to serve it semi-frozen is that it has the consistency of icecream and its just so yum!

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Baking Magic – Make it Pink! Make it Blue! Cupcakes

This post is coming to you today in honour of the fact that right now I’m in Disneyland Paris! Thank goodness for scheduled posting, eh?

To celebrate the fact that I’m probably twirling around in front of Sleeping Beauty’s gorgeous castle as you read this, I’m honouring the lovely Aurora and the classic debate among her many fans: pink or blue?

Make It Pink Make It Blue Cupcakes

Start off by preheating your oven to 190C, whip up a batch of your favourite vanilla cupcake mix, and separate it into two bowls.

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Using gel food colourings (I recommend Wilton or Sugaflair!), tint one bowl pink, and one bowl blue, like so!

Make It Pink Make It Blue Cupcakes

Line a cupcake tray with cases – pink and blue were my obvious choices, but its up to you! – and using a teaspoon, drop a little bit of one colour into each case. Keep on adding the two different colours bit by bit until the case is 3/4 full, then you can either leave it as is, or use a skewer to swirl them together a little more; gives it a bit more of a magical effect, I think!

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Bake for 15-17 minutes. If the cakes spring back nicely when you give them a little poke, or a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean, then you’re good to go! Get them out and onto a cooling rack.

Now its time to make some frosting; my go-to is always buttercream. Use at least 2 parts icing sugar to 1 part butter, and you might want to add a little more sugar as a firmer buttercream is better for this one! Again, tint half pink and half blue.

You’re going to need three piping bags for this next bit, but only one nozzle – I’m using a large closed star tip. Without cutting the ends off, fill one bag half full with pink, and another half full with blue, and try and squeeze the icing down a little.

Make It Pink Make It Blue Cupcakes

Cut the end off of the third bag and insert the nozzle, then you can snip the ends off of the pink and blue bags. Pop the two full bags into the empty one, and slowly squeeze until the icing appears at the end of the tip. You may find here that one colour comes out first before the second begins to show, I squeeze it out into another bowl until the colours are mixing nicely.

Make It Pink Make It Blue Cupcakes

Now pipe your cupcakes!

Make It Pink Make It Blue Cupcakes

I think the fairies would be proud, don’t you? Are you Team Pink or Team Blue?

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Treat Yourself – Leftover Easter Chocolate Brownies

I make the best brownies, if I do say so myself..

Its not just me, I’ve been told by a lot of people 😉

And after last weekend, I’m sure I can’t be the only person still swimming in chocolate, so I thought I’d share my brownie recipe, adapted to use up some of your Easter chocolate! What’s great about this is that you can use any chocolate: milk, dark, white, Lindt, Cadburys etc, and any mix of them to make unique brownies every time.

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1. Put 115g of your chocolate into a bowl with 115g butter and melt it down, either in a microwave or over hot water. At this point, try to use only ‘plain chocolate’; ones without biscuity bits or caramel or fillings etc – you can use them later! While this is melting, line an 8 inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper and heat your oven to 180C

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2. Pour your melted mix into a bowl with 300g caster sugar and mix together

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3. Beat in two eggs, followed by 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 115g plain flour. This is your basic brownie mix

4. Ok, all that other chocolate? Break/chop/mash it all up and add it to the mix. If you’ve got Creme Eggs, save them for the next step! Pour the chocolatey mix into your tray, and bake for 30 minutes, or 25 if you’ve got Creme Eggs.

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5. Creme Egg step: while the mix is baking, carefully chop your eggs in half. If you don’t have the patience for this, just smash them up a little bit! When the oven beeps, take the brownie out, arrange your eggs on the top and press them into the brownie before popping it back into the oven for another 5-6 minutes.

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6. Let the brownies cool on a cooling rack, then chop them up and devour!

You can thank me later..

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Baking Magic – Butterfinger Cupcakes

I’m just gonna prefix this post by saying that this is definitely more of a lazy person’s guide to the butterfinger cupcake due to the fact that my kitchen currently has a giant hole in the ceiling, so I’ve had to make do with the ingredients and space that I had!

Disney park cupcakes are the best, right? Apart from the fact that they’re often too big to finish in one go, YES. Today I’m taking on a Disney World classic, the Butterfinger cupcake.

Now Butterfingers are an American candy bar, and although you can get them in some UK retailers, I’ve made these as totally butterfinger-free butterfinger cupcakes. I feel like I’m totally cheating today, but I’m gonna pretend that I’m just making this recipe accessible for novice bakers.. BUT LOOK AT THEM YUM

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Right, here we go!

1. Start off with a batch of your favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, and to get a proper WDW experience, fill the cases a little more than you normally would! If you don’t have one, cream 125g butter and 125g caster sugar, add a dash of vanilla extract and 2 eggs, then mix in 20g cocoa powder and 105g self-raising flour and bake at 190C for 15-17 minutes. Ta-dah!

2. Once cooled, take a sharp knife and cut a hole into the centre of the cake, like a classic butterfly cake, and pop this to one side for the time being. It doesn’t matter if they get mixed up and you can’t remember which centre belongs to which cake.

3. (Cheat 1, coming your way). Well now you’ve got a hole in the middle of your cupcake that needs filling, so find either your favourite chocolate and peanut butter spread, or just a regular chocolate spread or frosting, and fill that hole all the way up. I recommend spread or frosting for this because its a little gooier than buttercream!

4. Those little cake centres, sit those back onto the cakes on top of the pool of chocolatey goodness to make a little peak.

5. Now grab some vanilla buttercream, or make some using a 2:1 icing sugar to butter ratio and a splash of vanilla extract. To replicate WDW buttercream, thicken it up with a bit more icing sugar – this will help it hold better when we load it onto the cake in a minute. Pop it into the fridge for a minute while we get a few more things ready.

6. Has anyone else noticed that basically every recipe I share involves crushing something at some point? Yep, we’re doing it again.. If you’re one of my American readers, grab yourself a butterfinger and crush it up nicely. UK friends, find yourself a peanut butter KitKat and a few cookies and stick them in a food processor to crumb them down nicely.

7. Grab your buttercream from the fridge, and using a knife or metal spatula, pile it onto your cupcake, then smooth it around the little peak you created earlier. Now grab your cupcake by its case and roll the buttercream mountain around in those crumbs until you get a nice covering.

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Is anyone else drooling?

Headed to the parks? You can get the original Butterfinger Cupcake from Starring Roles Cafe in Hollywood Studios!

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