Monday, 31 March 2014

Mint choc chip cookies

Sings "Gino oh Gino Ginelli"

Anyone remember the ice cream make Gino Ginelli? I certainly do. Our family favourite in the late 80s was their mint choc chip ice cream. And this is what these cookies remind me of, but of course in cookie form.

Planning Max's birthday party (superhero themed), I was Pinteresting when I came across photos of green mint cookies. A green cookie was perfect for an Incredible Hulk cookie so I adapted a recipe to suit what I wanted

Mint choc chip cookies
100g soft butter/margarine
150g soft light brown sugar
1/2 tsp mint essence
1 large egg
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Green food colouring 
150g choc chips

Makes 12

Preheat the oven to 180c /160 fan
Cream the butter and sugar together then beat in the mint essence and egg followed by the flour and baking powder until just combined. I use gel colourings of which you need just a bit, I'm guessing maybe 1-2 tsp would be required if using liquid colouring. 

Using a tablespoon, dollop blobs of cookie dough onto baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes until turning colour. Leave to cool on the baking sheets.

They're a lot more cakey than a harder biscuit or soft baked cookie, but it doesn't matter with these. It maybe actually makes them even more yummy and I do feel some mint choc chip cupcakes might be in order soon. I think the green food colouring even adds to the mint aspect.

Unfortunately I have no photos :( how very silly of me

But I do have a photo of the hulk biscuits I made :)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Xbox themed cake - Free Cakes for Kids Sheffield

A while back I was on Twitter when I saw a retweet from someone about Free Cakes for Kids Sheffield. So I started following them on Twitter just because it sounded interesting and was local, but then I started reading more into it. The more I read, the more I wanted to help so I decided to become a volunteer baker. There's nothing I love more than being able to celebrate my boys' birthdays than with a party and of course.......cake!

Everyone deserves a cake on their birthday. Yet many don't get one for many many reasons, but Free Cakes for Kids uses volunteer bakers to provide a birthday cake for those who ordinarily wouldn't receive one.

It's not quite as simple as asking them for a free cake, there's a referral process involved with your local group, then a baker is matched with the recipient, the cake is baked (normally there's a requested theme, the age and name are provided and flavour) and then delivered to the recipient's school/public place.

If you'd like more information, then pop over to and the Sheffield site is You don't even have be able to bake to get involved with the project.

My turn came around to make a cake (there's never pressure to bake one and you don't have to volunteer for every cake) and I was told that the cake would be for a boy called Adam who was turning 15 and if possible could it be Xbox themed. Decisions decisions. Do I go for an actual Xbox, there's been so many different ones, which to go for? Then black or white as most are black now. In the end I decided to do a white Xbox controller. My good old friend Google gave me a few handy hints and tips and I printed off a picture of a controller to the size I wanted to use as a template.

I baked two square 12" Victoria sponge cakes and filled them with strawberry jam and buttercream, then placed the template on top and cut round the shape. Lots of wastage but that's never an issue is it?!

The cake was then crumb coated with buttercream, before I covered the whole cake with white fondant icing. I'd pre made the two joystick pads the day before so they could harden up a bit and used the same colour grey fondant to make the rest of the joystick pads and the directional pad. I have a set of ring cutters and using the template I matched up the correct sized ring cutters with the joystick and directional pads. For the directional pad, I lightly pressed in the smooth side of a small cutter to create the same look. For the joysticks, I added a grey pad on the bottom then a small ring of fondant on top, then placed the top pad on top of that to create the real 3D effect.

I used a larger size cutter for each of these buttons to cut out the white rings which go round the pads and a green one for the Xbox button.
I then coloured small bits of fondant yellow, red, blue and green to make the coloured buttons and used a very small ring cutter to cut them out. 

For the central Xbox button I squished white fondant into my tablespoon measuring spoon to create the dome shape, sliced an X into it and squished green fondant into it to create the X shape. Round the outside of the button, I drew on numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 with a black icing pen.

I then added two small oval shaped buttons for the Back and Start buttons and using an icing tool, I drew triangles in them. Then at the back of the cake I added two strips of white fondant to create the bumper buttons.

Almost done! Like the controller, there's a grey section of plastic at the bottom, so I decided to add this to the controller too. I rolled out some grey fondant then freehand cut a shape into it then moulded it to the cake. Admittedly I winged this bit but I think it worked out well in the end.

All the decorations were attached using water - just lightly dampen the back of the fondant and add to the cake, then as it dries it sets like glue.

It's always a nice touch to have your age and name on your birthday cake so I added these in green, the age on the cake and the name on the cake board. All finished!

I'll never meet Adam and he'll probably never know who I am, but just knowing I've made something for him on his special day puts a real smile on my face. And I hope it put a smile on his face too. Happy Birthday Adam!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pancake Day

Was actually yesterday and I did rustle up a few Crepes as I wasn't hungry at tea time. So tonight I decided to have proper pancake day and made American pancakes.

I have to admit, very ashamedly, that in the past I've bought an American box mix from Selfridges where you just add an egg but really it was time to pack that in and make my own. It's not difficult is it?!

American pancakes 
135g self raising flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter (cooled)
130ml milk 

Makes approx 6

Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk to form a thick batter with no lumps. Leave to rest for a few minutes

Heat a non stick pan to medium and add a little oil dabbing it around with kitchen roll. Add dollops of batter to the pan and leave to cook on one side for a few minutes, them flip and cook on the other side. They should be fluffy in the middle and about 1cm high.

I had mine with crispy bacon and maple syrup. Like you should!

Excuse the half eaten plate photo