Monday, 23 June 2014

Lemon & White Chocolate Cupcakes

Lemon cake is one of my favourites. In fact, any kind of sweet, lemony treat is my favourite. I think you get the right amount of a sweet hit paired with a fresh, tangy flavour that never feels sickly sweet. This recipe has it all, I think it's the ultimate in lemon cupcakes. Soft, light sponge peppered with white chocolate drops, with a tangy lemon curd running through the centre, finished off with a buttery, lemony, cream cheese frosting and white chocolate buttons. These cakes look appetising from the outside, but the magic is in the middle...


Cake Ingredients:

300ml Double Cream 
300g Caster Sugar
2 x Large Free Range Eggs (lightly beaten)
400g Self Rasing Flour
Finely grated rind of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 - 1 Jar of Lemon Curd
100g White Chocolate Chips

Frosting Ingredients:

250g Cream Cheese (at room temp.)
125g Salted Butter (at room temp.)
200g Icing Sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 x Lemon
Juice of 1 x Lemon
Few drops of  Natural Yellow Food Colouring (optional)
White Chocolate Buttons (to decorate)

Bakes in 15-20 minutes and  makes approximately 24 cupcakes

Method:

1)Preheat the oven to 180°C. 
2)Start by whisking the double cream until thick. 


3) Add to this the remaining cake ingredients, apart from the chocolate chips, and whisk until fully combined. Fold in the choc chips.
4) Distribute the cake mixture evenly between the cake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cakes are fully cooked. I always use a skewer or knife to put in the centre of the cakes, and if they come out clean, you know they're done.


5) Once the cakes have fully cooled, using an apple corer (or teaspoon if you don't have one), remove the centre of each of the cupcakes. This will create a channel for which you will fill with the lemon curd.



6) Fill the centre of each cake with the lemon curd. Don't worry too much about being neat, you will be covering the top of the cakes with frosting.


7) For the frosting, simply whisk all the ingredients together until smooth. The mixture is not really thick enough to pipe onto the cakes so just spoon it on and smooth it out. Finish off by adding a few chocolate buttons.



Grab a cup of tea, a cupcake and sit in the sunshine and enjoy!
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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

All White Everything

Wearing white can be a chic statement all year round, but nothing says summer like an all-white ensemble. White is associated with light, goodness and purity and can also embody minimalism. Nothing feels fresher than wearing white on a summers day and can even make you feel somewhat ethereal. Okay, so wearing white can seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but what's fashion without risks? White is a great neutral to have in your wardrobe as it compliments every colour shoe, bag and accessory that you will own. White on white is a key trend for this summer, but if you're still not ready to 'white out' just yet, add an accent colour to balance your look, think tan, black and silver tones for accessories and footwear. If you are brave enough to wear the colour singularly, mix it up with different textures and hues and switch it up by pairing structured pieces with relaxed items.



Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here and here

Here are some of my fave pieces from across the web:





Row 1 (L-R) Converse Allstar £54.99 Office, Dungarees £38 TOPSHOP, T-Shirt £10 Monki @ ASOS 
Row 2 (L-R) Sunglasses £13 River Island @ ASOS, Crochet panel dress £50 ASOS, Platform Wedges £39.99 ZARA,
Row 3 (L-R)  Tassle bag £45 River Island @ ASOS, Lace Cut-Out Dress £98 Free People @ ASOS, Blazer £48 TOPSHOP 
Row 4 (L-R) Flower Net Tee £45 TOPSHOP, Cuff Block Heels £65 OFFICE, Button Front Cami top £18 TOPSHOP
Row 5 (L-R) Ripped Jeans £40 TOPSHOP, Embroidered Running Shorts £14.99 New Look @ ASOS, Top With Silk Insert £75 Whistles @ ASOS
Row 6 (L-R) Frayed Denim Shorts £100 Diesel @ ASOS


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Monday, 9 June 2014

DIY Mirror Slogan Tee

Logo's and slogans were seen everywhere on the catwalk for this season. From sequined 'coca cola' emblazoned tops from Ashish  to DKNY's bold and monochrome all-over-prints, a lot of designers made statements with words and lettering. Jeremy Scott opted for statement sweaters such as 'Earth sucks' and 'I'm a mess' while Sister by Sibling and Christopher Kane opted for one-worded designs like 'Happy' and 'Petal'. There's no doubt that slogan tee's are a real statement piece. They can represent a current trend or movement (CĂ©lfie, twerking), they can be ironicplayful or carry political or environmental messages.

I thought it would be fun to make my own version with a sporty vibe. I'm not massively a statement maker in the clothes that I choose to wear so I decided to choose a one word slogan that made a subtle statement without being over the top. To make the design more visually interesting I mirrored the word so that it appeared below it.
    

For this DIY you will need:
Plain white T-Shirt (I picked mine up for £3.99 from H & M
T shirt transfer paper
Iron on hemming web
Black grosgrain ribbon of your desired thickness (mine was 10mm)

  

Decide on your chosen word and font then design your slogan, I used photoshop to design mine. I simply typed the same word twice, and rotated the bottom word so it looked like a mirror image of the one above. Each word was transformed to roughly 28cm wide by 12cm tall. Then I just moved the lower word up to meet, and join the word above.
I recommend printing out your design onto plain paper first to check that it's the size and style that you want. After that, you're ready to print it out onto your transfer paper.
An optional step is to cut out any excess white areas in between the lettering. This will remove some of the transfer so you don't get shiny areas in between your letters. You can do this easily with a sharp craft knife.

   

Once your design has been cut out, place it face down onto your tee in the position you want it and iron on. Refer to the instructions that come with your transfer paper as each manufacturer is different.


The next stage is to lay out the ribbon on your sleeves and cut each piece to size, allow a couple of centimetres extra to secure and overlap to finish the strips. Take your hemming web (you may need to trim it to match the width of the ribbon) and place on top of your t shirt sleeve, followed by the ribbon on top of it. Making sure all of the webbing is covered, begin to fix the ribbon to the sleeve with a hot iron.
Continue all the way around until you have got back to your starting point. Overlap the ribbon a little and then trim any excess off. 
Continue this process until all of your stripes have been affixed to your tee sleeves.

   

And that's it...a slogan tee with a sports luxe edge.


                  


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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Chocolate and Banana Loaf Cake

This Sunday I decided to dig out my mixing bowls and do a bit of baking. It's been a while since I've done any sort of baking really, especially cake orientated. Biscuits and cupcakes have been my go-to recipes of late, alongside my bi-annual truffle-making-marathon (gifts for others...and maybe myself). So rather than sticking to my tried and tested, fail safe, palette pleasing recipes, I decided to try a recipe I had pinned on my 'Taste Buds' Pinterest board. Rather than let it get lost in a sea of pins that I probably wouldn't ever get round to actually doing, I decided to give it a go.

The original recipe can be found here on the BBC Good Food website. 

You will need:

100ml sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
half tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tbsp cocoa powder
100g chocolate chips or chunks
175g very ripe bananas
3 medium eggs, 2 separated
50ml milk

For the topping

100g milk chocolate
100ml soured cream
Handful dried banana chips, roughly chopped

Bakes in 1hr 15mins and will make 1 large loaf cake

Method:

1)Preheat your oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment (allow it to come 2cm above top of tin). 
2)Mix together the sugar, flour, bicarb, cocoa and chocolate in a large bowl.
3)Mash the bananas in a separate bowl and stir in the whole egg plus 2 yolks, putting the egg whites to one side, followed by the oil and milk.
 4)Beat the egg whites until stiff. Quickly stir the wet banana mixture into the dry ingredients, stir in a quarter of the egg whites to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the rest. 
5)Gently scrape into the tin and bake for 1 hr 10-15 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.Cool in the tin on a wire rack. 
6)To make the icing, melt the chocolate and soured cream together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Chill in the fridge until spreadable. Remove cake from tin, roughly swirl icing over and scatter with the banana chips.



All I can say about this recipe is 'heck yes!' It ticks so many boxes. It's chocolatey, banana-ey, moist, sweet, satisfying...delicious. There's no unusual ingredients in the recipe so you can get everything you need at your local supermarket. I managed to get all mine at Aldi apart from the banana chips, which I got from Tesco, but you can get them in health food shops too. It's really easy to make and the timings on the recipe are pretty accurate and it took the time stated to cook the cake without having to adjust the temperature. You don't need any fancy tins, I picked mine up from Poundland and just made sure I lined it with greaseproof paper. 

The balance of chocolate to banana is just about perfect, not too rich or sickly with a hint of the sweet ripe bananas. I have to admit, I wasn't too sure about the sound of mixing chocolate with sour cream for the topping, but I have to admit, it really works. It's like a milk chocolate ganache in the way that it's made, but is not as sweet as the sourness in the cream cuts through a little. You're supposed to chill the topping in the fridge until it's spreadable...but I got impatient and just piled it on top of the cake after it had cooled for about 30 mins. This meant it was a bit runnier than it was supposed to be and it ran down the edges of the cake but after chilling the whole thing in the fridge, it set a little. 



I'm currently writing this post as I'm on one of my fasting days as part of my 5:2 diet. Knowing what I'm having for my dinner tonight and knowing that this cakey goodness is sat in my fridge, giving me the eye, is not helping my stomach rumbles! Roll on tomorrow when I can have tea and cake...
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