My Ultimate Easter Rocky Road Recipe

I haven’t done a baking recipe in what feels like FOREVER (I will bombard you with them after we’ve moved into our new house so enjoy the relative rarity of them while it lasts) and with the Easter weekend upon us, I figured I’d throw as many Easter themed treats into one recipe, and that called for one of my favourite recipes: rocky road.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add or remove anything you fancy once you’ve got the core mix, so you can totally make this your own and go a little crazy if you want, but here’s how mine turned out..

You will need:

  • 225g chocolate (I personally prefer to use milk, but if you want to do dark, go for it!)
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 100g chocolate chip cookies or digestive biscuits, broken up
  • 100g maltesers (I used slightly less for this recipe because I added mini eggs)
  • 75g Mini Eggs plus extra for decorating
  • 4-5 Creme Eggs

Line an 8-inch square tin with greaseproof paper.

To start off, melt down the chocolate and butter – I do this in a pan over hot water, but you can microwave it if you prefer. Mix in the cocoa powder, caster sugar and cocoa powder until completely smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the marshmallows, cookies/biscuits, Maltesers and Mini Eggs, then pour in the chocolate mix and stir well until everything has a good coating of the chocolate mix, then pour into the tin and squish it down a little bit, but not too much.

Using a sharp knife, cut your Creme Eggs length-ways (along the little join). I then cut them in half again to make them go a little further, but that’s completely up to you! Press the Creme Egg pieces into the top of the mix so that they make their own little indentations to sit in, and chuck a couple of extra Mini Eggs on for good measure, then get this into the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Once set, chop into chunks and be prepared for it all to disappear a lot quicker than you expected..

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Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

Happy Pancake Day everyone! I mean, its the most important day of the month today, right?

And I know that I know there are some people out there who aren’t totally pancake crazy (weirdos.. I joke) but if that’s the case or not, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share a recipe I’ve been sitting on for a little while now: my blueberry pancake cupcakes!

For the cupcakes, you’ll need 125g butter, 125g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 125g self raising flour, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional), plus a handful of blueberries – you can decide how blueberry crazy you want to be! Oh, and preheat your oven to 190C

  • Cream together the butter and sugar, then whisk in the egg.
  • Add the vanilla extract, then sift together the flour and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Line a cupcake tray with 12 cases, and drop a couple of blueberries into the bottom of each case, then add your remaining blueberries to the cake mix and whisk a little more so that they break up and release some of their yumminess into the mix.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins, then remove and allow to cool

While your cupcakes are baking, you can start on the fun task of making the (optional) tiny pancake toppers for the cupcakes, because these will also need a chance to cool before you compile your cupcakes at the end. This really calls for a classic American style pancake, and if you have your own favourite recipe then you can go ahead and whip that up, or this is the recipe that I use (you may want to make a half batch though!):

  • Sift together 135g plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp caster sugar.
  • Separately whisk up 130ml milk with an egg and 2 tbsp melted butter, then pour into the flour mixture and whisk well until completely smooth.
  • Then you can go ahead and fry up your pancakes on a hob set at a medium heat – you can judge when its time to flip when little bubbles start to form on the top!

I tend to make a bunch of big pancakes, then use a cookie cutter to get them down to cupcake size, but if you have the patience to make a bunch of teeny tiny cupcakes then I’m all for that too! Pop these to one side, and make the buttercream:

  • Whisk together 175g caster sugar with 500g icing sugar until smooth
  • Optional: add 2 tbsp maple syrup and combine well – you may need to give your icing a chance to chill in the fridge before piping

Once everything is ready, get building! Pipe or spoon a good helping of buttercream onto each cupcake, top with a pancake and drizzle a little golden or maple syrup over the top and enjoy! If you’re making these in advance, don’t add the pancake until right before you serve, otherwise it can dry out a little bit, but the cupcakes themselves will store in a sealed container for up to a week!

You can thank me later!

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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 ūüėČ

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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Baking Magic – Mickey Cake Balls

I was gonna start off this post by saying its a great way to use up leftover cake, but seriously, who ever has leftover cake? Like, is that even a thing?

So you might need to bake a cake in preparation for this; I think its a pretty good excuse. Personally, whenever I make a cake and I need to cut it down so its level, my offcuts are always destined for cake pop mix, saves waste! As well as pop mix, all you need is candy melts in black and red, and you’re good to go!

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Now you will find making these cute little Mickeys SO much easier to make if you use traditional cake pop mix, rather than just baking cakes using a ‘cake pop’ mould. Never made it before? Its the easiest thing: crumble up cake into a fine crumb, then mix with buttercream until it combines into a semi-sticky, mouldable dough of deliciousness.

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Ok, so get rolling the dough into little balls, place onto greaseproof paper and get them into the fridge to chill nicely while you start melting down your Candy Melts, starting with black. I recommend melting the buttons down with a splash of oil (I use a lump of Trex) to give it a better consistency and shine.

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Once you’re¬†happy with the consistency, take the balls out of the fridge, and dip the top of the balls into the candy so it covers about¬†half. Place the¬†half dipped balls, dipped side up, back onto your greaseproof paper, then use two more candy buttons to create Mickey ears – do this one at a time, otherwise the candy could¬†harden before you get the ears in!

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Back into the fridge with the balls, and onto melting the red candy. I always melt my candy on a double boiler rather than a microwave so that I can keep the mix warm while I’m working with it, but its probably 5x quicker to microwave them – just preference I guess! Once melted, grab onto those nicely¬†hardened Mickey ears and dip the remaining¬†half of the cake ball into the red to create Mickey’s trousers. At this point, you could pop the balls onto sticks and let them cool standing up, but I like to smush them back onto the greaseproof paper to make little feet!

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You could even go the extra mile and use a bit of white or yellow to add buttons or shoe details if you were really trying to impress!

Who’s the leader of the pack who’s made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E

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Baking Magic – Marshmallow Pop Treats

Don’t you just¬†hate it when you’ve spent so much time in the parks eating your favourite treats, only to come¬†home and live without them? Yep, me too ūüė¶

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BUT this series is about bringing some of your park favourites to life in your everyday kitchen, and today is a combination of two of my favourite things: marshmallows and caramel!¬†Marshmallow pops are available in so many designs and flavours in a bunch of locations in the parks, and today I’m gonna share¬†how easy they are to create!

Ingredients wise, you’ll need: regular sized marshmallows, classic toffee sweets, condensed milk, chocolate/candy melts and whatever kind of sprinkles and sweetie decorations you like.

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1. First up, you need to melt down your toffees. I seriously recommend you do this in a metal bowl over boiling water – it’ll take a while, but will save you a burnt disaster! It’ll basically become one¬†huge toffee lump, which while delicious, would be a nightmare to work with, so I add condensed milk to smooth it down; about 3tbsp for every 20 toffee sweets.

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2. While your toffee is melting into a caramel goop, get sticking your marshmallows onto whatever you fancy: lollipop sticks, straws, etc.. Squeeze them nice and close together into a column of squishy goodness.

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3. Once you’re¬†happy with the consistency of your caramel, using a rubber spatula, scoop and smooth it all over the marshmallows. You can try and dip them, but may find they get stuck.. Give each stick a twirl to cool it off a little – it’ll dry quite quickly – then place onto greaseproof paper or tin foil, and get them into the fridge for¬†half an¬†hour or so.

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4. While the pops cool down, you can start to prepare your decorations. If you want colourful pops, I recommend Wilton Candy Melts as they’re really easy to work with – just melt down and mix with a little bit of vegetable oil to give it a shine – and you can also get different flavours (peanut butter!!!). Now you can let your imagination go wild; recreating your favourite designs from the parks or imagineering your own spectacular creations – just be sure to¬†have fun with it!

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5. Once you’re done decorating, get the pops back into the fridge to fully cool and set, and voila!

What’s your favourite Disney park treat?

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Treat Yourself – No Bake Smores Cheesecake!

Another new food series for 2016, yay! Treat Yourself is all about rewarding yourself with amazing food, and I’ll be posting something new and delicious on the first Saturday of each month, woo!

Cheesecake is something that I’m slowly coming around to; I used to be completely repulsed by the idea of it, but in the last few years I’m starting to change my mind.. What I do love forever and always though is smores. To me, its the epitome of dessert goodness.¬†Hello combination idea..

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You will need: a 9 inch springform pan, 200g Oreo cookies, 50g butter, 550g cream cheese (full fat is much easier to work with!),¬†70g icing sugar, vanilla extract, 100g milk chocolate and 2 cups of mini marshmallows. I work in cups for marshmallows because its the volume that’s more important than the weight! You’re also gonna want an electric¬†hand mixer!

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1. Break up your Oreos by whatever method floats your boat – food processor, chopper, beating with a rolling pin.. – so long as they’re in crumbs, its cool. Melt down the butter and mix with the cookie crumb, then press the mix into the bottom of your pan and put into the fridge to start setting.

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2. Get your cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl together and get your¬†hand mixer ready to go. Pop your marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl and blitz in 15-20 second intervals until they’re soft and they melt into a fluffy paste when you stir them.

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3. Working quickly, get that marshmallowy mix into the bowl with the cheese and sugar and get mixing – leave it too long and those marshmallows are gonna start to get super sticky and lumpy! Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and after a minute or two of good whipping, you’ll¬†have a lovely creamy consistency.

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4. Pour this mixture onto your biscuit base, then pop back into the fridge while you melt your chocolate. You can do this however you like, microwave or double boiler are best, then pour the melted goodness onto the top of your cheesecake. This is where you can get fancy with squiggles or shapes; I like to dump it all on top, then use a skewer to swirl it into a sort of controlled chaos! Now get it back into the fridge for at least another 4 hours before serving.

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YUM YUM YUM

Baking Magic – Lost Princess Loaf Cake

I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS SERIES!

Something I don’t talk about on my blog very much is that while I’m not busy blogging away, I¬†have my own cake business, and there’s nothing I love more than baking and developing new recipes. Something I talk about almost every day on the blog is¬†how much I love Disney, so this series is sharing my two great loves in order to create some food magic by recreating some Disney park favourites, and also sharing some fun Disney-inspired baking creations! Are you as excited as I am for this?!

Today I’m making one of my favourite basic-but-impressive cakes – the¬†hidden centre loaf cake! You might¬†have seen my Mickey Mouse one a while back, but today I’m taking inspiration from my favourite girl Punz as it seems so fitting!

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You’re gonna need: 250g butter (today I’m using dairy free!), 250g sugar, 5 eggs, 250g self-raising flour and vanilla extract, as well as some food colouring (I used yellow, its totally your choice though), a Swiss roll tin, a standard loaf tin, a crown cookie cutter and any icing or decoration of your choosing!

You’re also gonna want to preheat your oven to 180¬įC

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1. First up, mix together 150g of the butter and sugar, beat in 3 of the eggs and a splash of vanilla, then stir in the flour. Once you’re happy with it, add your food colouring – I would always recommend a professional gel or paste colouring, either Wilton or Sugarflair, because you get much better colours with minimal colourant added! Line your swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper, and spread this mix out across it – its gonna look pretty thin, but its gonna rise up nicely in the oven. Pop it in for 10 minutes, then let it cool on a cooling rack.

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2. Once cooled, take your cookie cutter and go to town, but be sure to get as many crowns out as you can.

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3. Mix together your remaining ingredients in the same way as Step 1, just no more food colouring this time! Its up to you whether you want to grease or line your loaf tin, or even use loaf liners, but do that now, then pour about half of this new cake mix into the bottom and spread it out evenly.

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4. Now take those pretty little crowns and line them up in the tin; squish them together nicely, but don’t overpack – if you’ve got some crowns leftover then lucky you!

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5. Pour your remaining mix over the top of the crown-sausage and spread it out – again, don’t worry if it looks thin or your crowns are poking up a little, it’ll be fine! Back in the oven with the cake, for about 20-25 minutes, then let it cool in the tin a little before turning it out onto a cooling rack.

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6. Now its time to get creative! Decorate your cake however you wish (you can use this as an opportunity to cover up any crowns that are peaking out), and then watch your friends faces as you slice to reveal the secret within..

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Who’s your favourite Disney princess?

Lottie Does Europe: It’s My Birthday!

So if you didn’t already know from the millions of times I’ve mentioned it, today is my 21st birthday, and I am spending it in a magical place: Disneyland Paris!

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Today has been totally filled with magic, from finally getting to open the beautiful birthday present that I picked out in Tokyo back in July (a Samantha Thavasa purse), to breakfast with Mickey and all the extra magic that has happened today.

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We¬†had reservations for breakfast at Cafe Mickey this morning, where the family surprised me with a birthday cake which was brought out by Dale and Mickey, who sang to me(!!!), before we¬†headed into the parks for our extra magic¬†hours. After skipping down Main Street, we¬†hit a few of the rides that were open, although many weren’t that early on in the day. Top of my list after 10am was Indiana Jones, which was closed for refurb until today – bonus! After a few more rides we decided to¬†head over to Walt Disney Studios Park, stopping at City Hall to make dining reservations: Bistrot Chez Remy for lunch, Blue Lagoon for dinner, and Walt’s for lunch tomorrow.

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We¬†headed straight to lunch once we were in, and¬†had an incredible meal in Chez Remy; I couldn’t believe¬†how perfectly themed it was! As we were there, we decided to get in the queue for Ratatouille, as it¬†had just reopened after some technical difficulties. There were,¬†however, several more ‘technical difficulties’ (including a protein spill!) during our wait, but we¬†held out and eventually after about an¬†hour and¬†half we were in!

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By that time, it was getting close to our dinner reservation, so we caught the last Moteurs, Camera, Action! show, before going back into the Disneyland park for Blue Lagoon dinner. For me, there is nothing better than a restaurant set within a ride! Again, we had amazing food, and thoroughly stuffed, we decided to hit the shops and Disney village, before going back to the hotel room for a little while. This decision was also made because when we had checked in the day before, the lovely CM at the front desk gave me and my sister one of their special vouchers for a free pin each, as a treat for my birthday.

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After 5 minutes peace and quiet, it was time to get back into the Disneyland Park to do a few of the more popular rides that had had longer queues earlier in the day: Phantom Manor, Star Tours etc, before scoring ourselves a perfect spot to watch Disney Dreams; all the way through this time, as yesterday our dinner booking meant we left early.

Its safe to say its been magical! Happy birthday me!

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Sea Foam Marshmallows

One of my favourite sweet treats to make (and eat!) is marshmallows. Most people don’t believe you can make marshmallows yourself, let alone¬†how easy they are, so I’m going to share, with a mermaidy twist!

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You’ll need: 450g caster sugar, 9 gelatine leaves, 2 eggs, water, 2 tbsp golden syrup or glucose syrup, and a candy thermometer as well.

First of all, get your gelatine soaking in 140ml water.

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Mix together the sugar and golden syrup with 200ml water in a saucepan, and start boiling, with the candy thermometer. You don’t need to stir the mix at all.

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Separate your eggs, you only need the whites. Whisk them until soft peaks form.

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Once the sugar mix¬†hits 127¬įC, take it off the¬†heat and add the gelatine, water and all. ¬†Stir, and it’ll bubble up a lot at this point, and its really¬†hot, so watch out!

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Slowly pour the sugar/gelatine mix into the egg whites, with the mixer running.

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Turn the speed up, and it’ll take about 9-10 minutes for your marshmallow to fluff up.

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This is when your imagination can take over! I coloured some of my mixture a pale blue/green, and some purple..

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In a square cake tin, I layered blue, then purple to create multicoloured cubes.

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I used a madeleine mould to create these cute shells..

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And piped the rest of the mix into shell shapes..

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Marshmallows take an¬†hour or two to set, and you can dust them with icing sugar to prevent stickiness once you’re done.

They keep really well in sealed bags or jars, and make for a perfect hot chocolate topping!

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Pink Rice Krispie Bites

Taking more inspiration from the lovely Marie, I’ve made pink and white Rice Krispie treats!

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These are super easy to make, and make great snacks for lunch boxes.

You’ll need:

Rice Krispies, marshmallows, butter, pink food colouring, white chocolate chips, flavouring oil (optional).

1. Chuck your marshmallows into a pan, add a knob of butter and melt it all down into a nice sticky mush.

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2. Add the pink food colouring, and any flavouring if you choose. I wanted mine to me white chocolate and raspberry, so I added raspberry oil.

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3. Pour in your Rice Krispies; as many as you like really, personal preference! Stir in any additional goodies you might like: mini marshmallows, chocolate chips etc.

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4. Scoop the now very sticky mix into a tray lined with greaseproof paper, smooth it down and pop it into the fridge to set.

5. Slice up and enjoy!

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These bad boys can be stored in a sealed container (best kept in the fridge to avoid stickiness) or you can wrap them individually in greaseproof paper or foil ready to pop in lunch boxes!

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Cupcakes

I’m afraid to say that DIY Wednesday this week was a bit of a disaster, so I’ll be posting a make-up one at a later date!¬†I’ve also been really busy with an upcoming project, so today’s food post is a little on the lazy side..

When I think of Alice in Wonderland, the first thing that really springs to mind is the Mad¬†Hatter’s tea party, and the whimsy that goes along with it. Now personally, a tea party isn’t proper without cake, so¬†here are my top tips for wonderfully wacky tea party cupcakes, featuring some cupcakes and a cake I made a little while back!

1. Don’t be afraid of colour

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Bright blue, pinks, oranges and greens aren’t your everyday colours, but I bet they’ll be everyone’s favourites!

2. Wonky is absolutely fine

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Don’t worry about precision even cakes, topsy turvy is the new black!

3. Throw off the tastebuds

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Mix up flavours and colours eg. pink is lemon, green is strawberry etc.

4. Its all in the details

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It’ll take a bit more time, but its worth it!

5. Display them beautifully

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Even the simplest cakes look incredible on the right stand.

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Pupcakes

Combining DIY and Foodie this week because this week’s recipe isn’t for¬†humans..

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Pupcakes!

Yes, that’s right, in keeping with this week’s 101 Dalmatian theme, I’m sharing a recipe for¬†homemade, all natural dog treats baked in cupcake cases.

You’ll need:

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup

1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots worth)

1 cup wholemeal flour

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The method couldn’t be easier: mix together the runny ingredients (egg, oil,¬†honey/syrup), beat in the peanut butter and carrot and stir in the flour, voila!

Spoon the mix into cupcake cases in a tin and bake at 170¬įC for 20-25 minutes. If you¬†have a smaller dog, or want more bitesize cakes, you could use a mini muffin tin and bake for 10-15 minutes.

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Sorcerer Mickey Cupcakes

Apologies for a lack of DIY Wednesday, my work shifts got jumbled up so I’ll be posting it tomorrow!

Today is Foodie Thursday though, and keeping on this week’s theme, I spent my day baking..

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Sorcerer Mickey cupcakes!

With the current deconstruction of the Mickey hat at Hollywood Studios, this is my little nod to a classic Disney World landmark.

Start of with your favourite cupcakes, preferably in some cute red cases (mine are from Paper Eskimo)

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And a nice thick buttercream in a bag with a large open nozzle, or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off, and pipe it high in small circles in the centre of the cake

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Then you can use black candy melts or chocolate buttons as Mickey ears

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Using white sugarpaste/fondant, cut out little stars and moons to decorate the hat, or just use white sprinkles!

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If I was doing these for a special event, I’d tie string or ribbon around the cupcake cases to give it more of a Mickey look!

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Top Disney Cakes

So I think this is the first Foodie Thursday I’ve actually managed, wahey! That being said though, its a slight cheat post as last week I managed to fall up some stairs (yes, UP the stairs..) at work and now my wrist is in a temporary cast as I wait t0 find out if clumsy old me actually broke it!

And while a broken wrist makes for a poor blogger, that’s not the only part of my life is makes more difficult..

What you may not know about me is that I am fortunate enough to be blessed with an incredible day job as a cake decorator, so with a right¬†hand out of order, I’m feeling a little blue.. So I thought I’d share my favourite Disney themed cakes with you!

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1. R2D2

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2. Alice in Wonderland

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3.

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4. Up

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5. Toy Story

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6. Tangled

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7. Olaf’s beach

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8. Mad hatter tea party cupcakes

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9. 360¬į Disney Dreams (full view¬†here)

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All cakes made by yours truly, more info and pictures of my cakes can be found on http://www.facebook.com/LottiesCupcakesBournemouth

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DIY Hidden Mickey Loaf Cake

Not everyone is aware of the hidden Mickey, which is part of the beauty of it really.

But the clever folks over at Disney HQ have managed to sneak thousands of the little guys into pretty much every aspect of Disney life; you can find them all over the Disney parks and snuck into the films in the strangest of places.

And while artsy stuff isn’t my strong point, cake is. So I made this:

 

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Hidden Mickey cake!

And you can do it to ūüôā

You will need:

250g butter, 250g caster sugar, 5 eggs, 30g cocoa powder, 220g self raising flour, vanilla extract and your favourite frosting

a loaf tin and a swiss roll tin, both greased and lined with baking paper

a mickey mouse shaped cookie cutter

an oven preheated to 180C

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First things first, cream together 150g butter, 150g caster sugar, then beat in 3 eggs. Stir together the 30g cocoa powder and 120g self-raising flour and whisk into the mix. Boom, chocolate cake batter!

Pour this into your pre-prepared swiss roll tin, and spread to the edges using a spatula, making sure it is smooth all over.

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If you don’t own a swiss roll tin, you can always bake a chocolate cake in a regular cake tin, it just may need leveling off before the next step.

Bake for 10 mins until the cake springs back when lightly poked ūüôā

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Once cooled, take your Mickey cutter and go to town on it!

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Depending on the thickness of your cake, you may find you get enough Mickeys out of it for a second loaf.

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Now for the slightly trickier bit.. Line up your Mickeys in the centre of your prepared loaf tin so that they are tightly packed and less likely to slip out of place.

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You’re aiming for a sort of Mickey sausage!

Then cream together the remaining 100g butter, 100g sugar, a tsp or so of vanilla extract and 2 eggs, and mix in the 100g self-raising flour to make the surrounding batter.

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Slowly pour the mix over the Mickeys and spread evenly across the tin. You’ll probably find the Mickey ears are a little taller than the rest, but this will be fine once the cake¬†has risen!

Bake for approx. 20 mins, until the cake springs bake when touched or a skewer inserted down the sides comes out clean.

Once cooled decorate as you wish ūüôā I always like to decorate my¬†hidden surprise cakes so they¬†hint at the centre, but don’t give it away just yet!

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When the time comes.. Slice!

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And ta-da!

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A Mickey for everyone ūüôā

Stay tuned for the matching cupcakes!

360¬į of Disney Cake by Lottie’s Cupcakes

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Aladdin’s lamp, Cinderella’s pumpkin, Fairy Godmother wand and the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast

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Toy Story aliens and pea pods, Tinkerbell’s wand and Olaf

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Poison apple, lost runes of Atlantis and the iconic lantern scene from Tangled.

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Monsters Inc and The Lion King

 

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Ariel, Nemo, 101 Dalmatians and Lilo and Stitch

To show your love,¬†head on over to www.facebook.com/LottiesCupcakesBournemouth and like their page ūüôā