Hidden Pumpkin Cupcakes

The spookiest day of the year is now just around the corner, and while I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween, I love a good bit of baking, and I can’t believe I’ve never shared this recipe before!

With one of my cousins having her birthday on the 29th, I have been baking Halloween themed treats for her birthday parties for years now, and it was actually 5 years ago that I came up with these surprise centre cuties, and now you can make them too!

For 12-15 cupcakes, you will need:

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 105g self-raising flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • Plus..
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 65g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 65g self raising flour
  • Orange food colouring
  • Orange flavouring (optional)
  • Green candy melts
  • Your favourite chocolate frosting

You’ll also need a cupcake tray and either a cake pop machine or a cake pop baking mould!

Pre-heat your oven to 190C and start by making your little pumpkin balls! Cream the 65g butter and caster sugar together, then whisk in the egg and add the flour. Once the mixture is smooth, add the orange food colouring and flavouring. Bake for 10 mins, or as per your cake pop machine’s instructions – I think mine takes about 6 mins!

Let these cool, and use the remainder of the ingredients to make the chocolate cupcake mix using the same method. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases, and place one orange cake ball in the centre of the case, then using a teaspoon, add chocolate mix around the edge of the pumpkin – its ok if the top of the pumpkin isn’t covered because the cake will rise around it!

Bake for 12-15 mins, and while baking, chop the candy melt buttons into thin strips – it doesn’t matter if these aren’t perfect! Once the cupcakes are done, let them cool for about 5 mins, then carefully push each little green strip into the centre of the pumpkin, and then allow them to cool fully before icing. I personally like to keep the icing simple so it doesn’t give away the surprise inside, but you can find your own style!

Then sit back and watch the amazement when your unsuspecting consumers discover they’ve just bitten into a pumpkin!

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Cauliflower Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Do you ever have a real craving for something, decide to make it there and then, and then go to the kitchen and find your missing a vital ingredient? Well that was me last week. I have a homemade chicken nugget recipe that I’ve been using for years, and it was all I wanted to have for dinner.. Until I discovered I hate no breadcrumbs. Gutted.

I mooched over to the fridge to find alternative food options, and was greeted by the tub of cauliflower rice. Lightbulb. Twenty minutes later: happy Lottie with chicken nuggets.

Make them now, thank me later!

You’re gonna need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice (I used the pre-made stuff you can get from most supermarkets now, but you can just blitz up your own in a food processer!)
  • 1 tbsp fine parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Melted butter or a beaten egg yolk

Preheat your oven to 200C and cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the cauliflower, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper, and set to one side. Chop up your chicken breast into small nugget sized pieces, roughly 1 inch cubes!

If you’re using butter, now is the time to melt that, or beat up your egg yolk, then one piece at a time, dip the chicken into the butter/yolk, allow any excess to run off, then roll around in the cauliflower mixture.

Place each piece on the baking tray, leaving a little room between each nugget, and repeat until all of the chicken is covered. If you have any excess mix, you can use this to cover up any patches on any of the nuggets!

Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins, and be sure to check that the chicken is cooked through and juices are running clear.

Et voila – golden nuggets in less than 20 mins! Enjoy!

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Blueberry Lemonade

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over a few attempts at making my own, life’s gotta give you a whole load of lemons before you can make much lemonade!

This recipe, however, is well worth squeezing a few lemons, and I know I’m gonna be making it over and over through the summer months because I could drink this all day!

You will need:

  • 5-6 lemons
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated or caster sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 250ml water and add the blueberries. Start to heat this over a medium heat.

While keeping an eye on the blueberry mixture, squeeze the lemons – preferably using a hand juicer to get the most juice out! You should be aiming for about 175-200ml.

After 3-4 mins of simmering, the blueberries in the pan should be broken down, and the liquid should be a nice purple colour. Remove the mixture from the heat, and drain using a fine sieve to ensure none of the skins or bitty bits get through. Let this cool down a little.

In a large jug, combine the lemon juice with 1.25 litres of cold water, then pour in the blueberry syrup and whisk to combine. Pop into the fridge to allow the mixture to fully cool, then serve over ice and enjoy!

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Baking Magic – Spinach Puffs

For the first time in forever, I’ve been in the kitchen creating a Disney inspired recipe.. Pull the lever, Kronk!

That’s right, its a little less well known recipe today, but any fans of Emperor’s New Groove will know of Kronk’s famous spinach puffs. Yzma may not be a fan, but having recreated these little beauties for myself, I most certainly am, and I’m pleased to say they’re super easy to do!

You’re gonna need:

  • A sheet of ready-roll puff pastry
  • 1 cup of finely chopped spinach – I used a food processor to save time!
  • 2 tbsp powdered parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • A beaten egg, optional
  • A mini muffin tray sprayed with FryLight oil
This recipe makes 8-10 puffs!

Preheat an oven to 180C.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the spinach, parmesan until evenly mixed. Crush the garlic clove into this mixture, add the oil and combine.

Unroll the pastry, and cut into 2×2 inch squares. Arrange the squares diagonally in the mini muffin holes, pressing them down into the dips, then fill with a teaspoon of the spinach mix.

Fold the corners in, and brush the top with the egg mix. Pop in the oven for 10-12 mins until golden brown.

If you’re feeling a little fancy, you can spread the mix onto the pastry sheet, roll it up like a Swiss roll and slice into spirals before baking!

These bites of deliciousness are best served warm, but will also keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

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Unicorn Poop Marshmallows

Unicorn food is taking of the world right now. Its all over Pinterest, its in ever cutesy indie cafe, and I’m loving it.

I’ve seen lots of recipes for unicorn hot chocolate recently, and while I think they’re all incredibly cute, I think they’re missing one finishing touch.. Unicorn marshmallows. Making marshmallows is one of my favourite things to do, and I personally think they taste a million times better homemade, so I took inspiration from one of my favourite Lush bubble bars to create these pastel perfect unicorn poops.

Making the marshmallows is fairly straightfoward, but does take a little bit of time and you’ll need a candy thermometer!

  • In a heavy based saucepan, mix together 200ml water, 450g caster sugar and 1 tbsp golden syrup. Pop in the candy thermometer, and start heating the mix, without stirring, until it reaches 127C.
  • While its heating, soak 9 gelatine leaves in 140ml water in a bowl and leave to one side.
  • In a large bowl, or stand mixer, whisk 2 egg whites until fluffy. If you’re using a stand mixer, just keep this running at a medium speed, or if you use an electric hand whisk, stop when soft peaks form and wait for the sugar mix.
  • Once the sugar boils up to temperature, remove the thermometer and pour in the gelatin/water mix and stir until fully dissolved, then slowly pour into the egg whites, mixing as you go. I cannot stress enough how hot this mix is, so please be careful and don’t have small children around while you’re doing this as it will hurt!
  • Whisk this mixture on a high speed for around 10 minutes, until it forms peaks.

While the marshmallow is whisking away, get three bowls ready withΒ a few drops of gel food colouring in each. Pour 1/3 of the mix into each bowl and stir so the mallow is evenly coloured.

At this point, I used my Wilton colour swirl kit, but you can also use regular piping bags by filling each one with a colour, and then placing all three bags into another, fitting with a large open nozzle.

Prepare a large tray by covering it with greaseproof paper, and sprinkling a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour, then get piping away! If you don’t want to pipe, you could also use a square cake tin and layer the colours instead!

Let the marshmallows set for 1-2 hours, then sprinkle with more icing sugar/cornflour! These will keep in an airtight container for about a week or two – if you let them last that long!

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Ferrero Rocher Brownies

It has felt like FOREVER since I’ve done a baking post, or any recipe post at all to be honest, so I dedicated a whole day last week to baking yummy stuff so I can share a few of my favourites sweet treats over the coming weeks, yay!

Today, I’m gonna be sharing a variation on my famous brownie recipe (and when I say famous, I mean among the few people in my life who have eaten my brownies, haha), featuring my boyfriend’s favourite chocolates: Ferrero Rochers.

You will need:

  • 115g butter
  • 115g milk chocolate
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 115g plain flour
  • 8 Ferrero Rocher
  • 4 tbsp Nutella (optional)
  • 4 tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180C

First, melt together the chocolate and butter. I do this in a pan over boiling water, but you can also do this in the microwave! While this is melting down, line an 8 inch square pan with greaseproof paper, and chop the Ferrero Rochers in half.

Once the chocolate mix is fully melted (don’t worry if the butter and chocolate is a little bit separated!), pour it into a large mixing bowl, add the caster sugar and stir together, then beat in the eggs until smooth. Sift in the cocoa powder and flour, and mix together. You can add the hazelnuts now if you want!

Pour half of the brownie mix into the pan and let it settle evenly. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the Nutella in 10-20 second intervals until its runny enough to pour, and drizzle it over the first layer of brownie mix, then pour the remaining mix on top.

Arrange your Ferrero Rocher halfs on the top of the brownie, pushing them down into the mix slightly, then bake for 30-35 mins. Allow the brownie to cool in the pan for 5-10 mins, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Slice and enjoy!

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Meringue Roses for Mothers Day

In case you’d forgotten, its Mothers Day this Sunday!

If you do something a little different this year, why not forgo the regular flowers, and treat her to a sweeter treat.. Enter, meringue roses!

To make these, I used the BBC Good Food Ultimate Meringue recipe, which goes a little something like this:

  • Preheat your oven to 100C
  • Whisk 4 egg whites until fluffy and stiff peaks form – you can do this with a hand or stand mixer
  • Add 115g of caster sugar a spoonful at a time, up the speed and continue to whisk until thick and glossy!
  • Sift in 115g of icing sugar, 1/3 at a time, and fold into the mix with a metal spoon until smooth

Cover a baking tray with a non-slip mat, or greaseproof paper. Spoon the mix into a piping bag with a star nozzle, then starting in the middle, pipe spirals to make roses with a diameter of 2-3 inches, and bake for 1.5 hours. Once done, turn the oven off and let the meringues cool inside the oven for about half an hour, then take them out and transfer to a cooling rack.

You can serve these as they are, or sandwich two together with cream – or any other way you fancy! You don’t even have to make them for your mum if you don’t want to.. πŸ˜‰

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