Which celebration bake looks the tastiest? LETS VOTE!

Celebration bakes are our very favourite treats as you may already know from some of our recent posts Choco-vanilla birthday cupcakes, Queen Victoria crowns and St David’s Day treats. These bakes don’t just make the kitchen smell divine, they put smiles on the faces of our best friends and mark that occasion that’s special to us all, one way or another.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our posts and recipes for celebration bakes just as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them, but now that you’ve seen what the 5 crumby bakers can do, we thought that this week we’d hand our website over to you, so everyone can see what our users and fellow baking enthusiasts have been up to.

So as promised, here are the lovely pictures of your very own celebration bakes that you’ve been emailing us. Whoever is voted the TASTIEST looking celebration bake by this time next week will hand their recipe over, into the (perhaps not so safe) hands of the 5 crumby bakers and we’ll see how our attempt compares to your original.

Wish us luck.

Get voting in our poll below!

1. Kathryn Swarbrick’s Disney princess castle

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2. Chloe O’Neill’s Triple chocolate fudge brownie cake

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3. Fionnula Conway’s Jubilee lemon sponge

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4. Laura Carroll’s Banoffee fudge layer cake

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5. Adam Paul’s Chocolate cake with chocolate cream

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6. Amy Elliot’s Giant chocolate and vanilla cupcake

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7. Alice Currie’s Christmassy spiced gingerbread men (Ok so we know they’re not really a celebration bake but they’re so cute!)

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8. Monica Carroll’s Easter treat chocolate cake

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9. Katie Robinson’s Kit-cat surprise

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10. Ben Smith’s White chocolate and toffee birthday bananza

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 11. Maureen Brown’s Easter chick

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By Niamh Conway

Caramel Nibble Cookies

My baking skills were in demand today with my flat mates asking for something tasty. Cookies are quick and easy to make and you can pick up a basic chocolate chip recipe and be creative; substituting the chocolate for almost anything you fancy! Dairy Milk’s Caramel Nibbles being my major guilty pleasure, I thought I would use them in today’s recipe.

The recipe I used for my cookies was Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, which he uses in an episode of River Cottage. The full recipe can be found here: http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe

I found the recipe really simple to follow as everything was explained in 4 easy steps. It only takes about 10 minutes to make the mixture, and less than that for them to bake.

What I used

What I used

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

75g soft light brown sugar

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract

150g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

100g dark or milk chocolate (or whatever filling you desire!), chopped into smallish chunks

To start pre-heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5, to allow the cookies an even bake as soon as you’re finished making the mixture.

Melt the butter, Hugh suggests doing it slowly on the hob but I just whizzed it in the microwave. While that’s being done put both sugars in a bowl and then add the melted butter. Grab a spoon and give it a quick mix.

It should look a bit like this

It should look a bit like this

Then add the egg and vanilla (I used vanilla paste instead of extract. I find the paste has a stronger flavour) again mix this in well. You should have a rather sloppy mixture at this stage.

Sift in the flour, baking powder (I substituted the baking powder for self-raising, which essentially does the same job) and salt and stir the mixture. You should see it gaining a doughier texture.

All you have left to do now is add your filling! Make sure it is chunked up and mixed in well; so that it will spread nicely throughout your dough.

Doughy mixture

Doughy mixture

Now it’s time to get your baking trays ready! Line them with greaseproof paper (or something equivalent) and then dot the mixture out evenly on the sheet. Be aware that if you make your cookies thick they will spread during the baking process. I certainly found that when making mine!

You’re now ready to bake, as I stated previously make sure you watch over them as it should only take about 8-10 minutes for them to go golden. It is not something you can really judge by touch, as they will still be soft when getting them out of the oven. You will need to leave them to cool before removing from the tray and in that time they will gain a biscuity structure.

Before bake- nicely spaced

Before bake: nicely spaced

After bake- rather merged

After bake: rather merged

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine got rather golden rather quick, but they were not burnt! Within hours my flatmates and I managed to finish every crumb. Throughout the weekend I was forced to make another 3 batches, and with each attempt I saw my technique improve.  They made a great dunking companion for a hot drink (especially after a long stressful day). This is definitely a recipe I will return to time and time again.

My cookie mountain

My cookie mountain

Having a nice brew

Having a nice brew

Have you ever experimented with any interesting cookie fillings? let us know below or through Facebook  Twitter or email: 5crumbybakers@gmail.com

by Karen Coe

Peanut M&M Muffin Cake recipe.

Whether it’s the sugar rush we get from them or the elusive feeling of love from our first bite, there’s no denying it; we are a nation obsessed with chocolate. We walk into our corner shop or into our local supermarkets and the first thing that catches our eye is the confectionery aisle. The bright colours, the temptation, the naughtiness of knowing you shouldn’t but you really should, there’s just something about chocolate that we can’t resist.

Not only that, chocolate isn’t only making us happy, it’s making the manufacturers rather happy also. Chocolate is a multi-million pound industry so as long as we’re eating it, we’re keeping the big cats milk bowl full too. I decided to check out the stats of the nations favourite chocolate bars and interpret our Top 10 into household cake recipes. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way to the top. Starting with #10 on the list: M&M’s.

Manufactured by Mars Confectionery, latest figures from foodmanufacturer.co.uk indicate that those colourful little pills of chocolate raked in £66.9m by the end of 2013. Plain milk chocolate M&M’s were first introduced in 1941 by Forrest Mars. Jr, son of the founder of the Mars Company, Frank C. Mars. Not as convenient as they are today, the idea for M&M’s came during the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939) when Forrest saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard outer shell to stop the chocolate melting.

The rest is history. Now we have biscuit M&M’s, peanut M&M’s: America even have pretzel M&M’s! This in mind, I decided to make a classic muffin cake with a twist: I Peanut M&M’d it. Moist muffin, peanut butter cream filling with peanut butter cream icing, sprinkled with Peanut M&M’s. Here’s what you’ll need:

Muffin cake mix

  • 4 heaped tbsp of caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 heaped tbsp of self raising flour
  • A splash of milk

Peanut Butter cream

  • 4 heaped tbsp of icing sugar
  • 4 heaped tbsp of peanut butter
  • 4 heaped tbsp of butter

Topping

  • A big packet of Peanut M&M’s!

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 (190°) for half an hour.

2. Grease your cake tins with margarine, just so they’re ready to go straight into the oven once you’ve put your cake mix in them.

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3. Crack your eggs into a mixing bowl and add the margarine, self raising flour and caster sugar. Whisk! This is known as the “All In One” method, so it doesn’t really matter what order you put your ingredients in.  After all of the ingredients are mixed together, add a splash of milk. I go for full fat, but you can use skimmed or semi skimmed if you like. Whisk again for a light and fluffy texture.

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4. Spoon half of the mixture into one cake tin and the other half into the other. Bake for 15 minutes and check to see if the cake is rising. Little tip: stick a tooth pick into one of the layers and if the toothpick comes out clear, that means the cake mix is fully cooked. Don’t take your eye off the cake layers after this: it can burn very easily. Check again after another 5 minutes and they should be ready!

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5. Once your cake is cooked through, place the cake tins on a tea towel on the side and allow a good half an hour to cool before you fill and ice the cake. They should look something like this when done.

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6. Whilst your cake is cooling, it’s time to make the peanut butter cream. To do this, place your peanut butter, icing sugar and butter into a jug and mix! It’s that simple! And tastes like heaven.

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7. Spoon half of the cream onto the bottom layer and proceed to put the top layer on. Make sure you do not push the cream into the cake with the knife, make sure you are spreading it upwards as this makes for a better a effect.

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8. Once you have done this, repeat step 7 but on the top layer of the cake.

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9. After you have done this, get your packet of peanut M&M’s and place them on however you like! I went for an M&M M in the centre and various coloured M&M’s round the edge.

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10. Eat. Eat until it’s all gone. Perfect for pudding or as a tasty little treat. Serves 8 if you’re skimpy with the portion size: it lasted about two minutes in my house!

By John Elsworth

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