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Tis the Season

Tis the season to drag out the Christmas Poem again, apologies for repeat posts but I do love it!  I’ll be working right up till Christmas Eve and Mr K will be doing his bit for the emergency services and working right through.  We will however have friends, family and, most importantly, 3 deliciously excited little girls

Wishing you and yours a merry, peaceful and cake filled Festive Season.

Fa La La La Laaaaaaaa

 

 

Hark the Herald Buttercream
Glory to the newly baked dreams
Peace in Kitschn and flavours mild
Fans and cakey bakeage reconciled.
Joyful, all ye baking rise
Delights of every different size.
With angelic taste proclaim:
“Cakes are done in oven again.”
Hark! The Oven Timer Pings
Glory to all Kitschnbake Things.

The Art of Effortless Gift Giving

It’s the time of year to sparkle and shine.  To mooch round Christmas markets whilst sipping on mulled wine.  Luxuriate in choosing new ‘must have’ gifts.  Leave relevant catalogue pages open with lusted after items circled in bright red ink.  Party dress? Check.  Fabulous shoes?  Never leave home without them.  Hair?  Nails? Booked! Taxi ordered (did you SEE the shoes?) Done! That niggling feeling you’re forgetting someone? Damn!  IS it possible someone has been over looked?  Perhaps a teacher or what about the office Secret Santa?  So, just how do you appear to have mastered the art of effortless giving with just your cupboard to hand?  With a cheeky, tasty White Chocolate Rocky Road and a ribbon, that’s how. 

Recipe/Method:

Belgian White Chocolate – non negotiable

Turkish Delight and/or Coconut Ice – chopped

Brazil or Macadamia Nuts – chopped

Cranberries and/or Cherries

Desiccated Coconut

1.       Get hold of a Kilner Jar, pretty Christmas Box or some tissue paper and a cellophane bag will suffice.

2.       Line a baking tray with the plastic bag from inside a cereal packet.

3.       Melt the white chocolate the microwave or in a bain marie (bowl over simmering water)

4.       Chuck nuts, Turkish delight, cranberries and desiccated coconut in a big bowl.

5.       Pour melted chocolate over the dry ingredients and mix.

6.       Place in tray, spread to the corners and leave to set.

7.       Pretty it up with some edible glitter, chop into squares and place in jar/box/bag.

8.       Chuck round a festive ribbon and hand it over with a smile.

9.       Relish in the praise heaped upon you due to the deliciousness and pour yourself a glass of fizz.

 

Oh and you’re welcome!

Should Kate love the Ginger?

Hyperemesis gravidarum is not a condition fit for a Princess.  Morning sickness can be debilitating and frankly it’s downright poorly named.  Through personal experience I know it can last all day, every day until you find relief in one small thing.  Mine was ginger.  In the form of ginger nuts to be exact.  Fingers crossed Wills or Liz is a dab hand with a rolling pin and can knock up a quick ginger or two for her. Cutting them with a crown shaped cutter optional.

Move over Harry, there’s a new ginger in town.

Gingerbread Biscuit Recipe

Ingredients

·         350g plain flour plus extra for rolling out

·         1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

·         2-3 tsp ground ginger

·         125g butter

·         175g light soft brown sugar

·         1 large egg (free range)

·         4 tbsp golden syrup

Method

Preheat Oven to 180 and line a two baking trays with greaseproof paper.


1.     Sift dry ingredients into a food processor. Add the butter and blitz till it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

2.     Beat together egg and golden syrup then add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip dough out only lightly floured surface, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes.

3.     Roll the dough out to 1/2 cm thick (again on a lightly floured surface). Using your crown cutter, or other chosen shape, cut out the biscuit and place on the baking tray.  Leave a gap between them.

4.     Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

5.     Once cooled eat, dip in tea or if feeling need to pretty it up decorate with icing and sprinkles.

Christmas in October!?!

Just back from holidays and it’s certainly feeling chilly enough for winter!  With the heating cranked up and my trusted fleecy slipper boots on, I am not decking the halls but answering emails and messages that have stacked up in my absence.  Some of these include Christmas orders.  I have to admit I’m impressed.  With three young children and a business to run I should maybe take a leaf out of a more organised book than mine!

Cheesecake Marbled Brownies

So, time to get everything in place in order me to answer enquiries and fill up the slots.  Having consulted with a lovely lady at Royal Mail customer services, I can now release prices for KitschnBake Brownie Christmas Orders.

Prices are valid for a box of 12 delicious chocolate brownies packaged up and sent anywhere within the UK.  All you have to do is decide on the recipient, choose the flavour and provide a message of your choice for the gift card.

Up until Friday 14th December brownies can be sent to your chosen recipient anywhere within the UK for £20 using Royal Mail First Class post.

From Monday 17th December, deliveries will only be sent Royal Mail Guaranteed Next Day delivery costing £25.  The last date for postage is Thursday 20th December.
 

Triple Chocolate Brownies

You are of course free at any point to opt for the £25 next day option at any time if you wish.

The change in delivery costs for this time of year is due to the volume of post handled by Royal Mail in the run up to Christmas.  This results in my being unable to guarantee anything posted using ordinary Royal Mail First Class arriving within one or two days.

So who deserves a delicious treat this Christmas?  Are you on Santa’s nice list?  Could you leave this page open for someone as a huge hint?

Ordering is easy.  Either email on cakes@kitschnbake.co.uk or phone 07734 824280 or message me through our Facebook or Twitter pages.  Spaces are limited though so if these are on your Christmas list, and let’s face it who wouldn’t want them, let me know as soon as possible!

Fifty Shades of Cake by Kay Keaton

My current ‘to do’ list rivals most normal person’s telephone directory.  Updating the blog unfortunately sits somewhere at the bottom between sleep and hoovering the car, with sleep winning every time.  I will endeavour to get better but in the meantime here’s a wee treat for you.

Unless you’ve been in a cake induced coma for the past month you could not have helped but notice all the fuss over the ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy.  Fortunately for me, a gifted and talented journalist friend of mine penned ‘Fifty Shades of Cake’ and sent it to me for a giggle.  Here it is, I hope it makes you smile in the same way she makes smile in every humorous and witty act of kindness she performs.

She shall remain anonymous unless she chooses not to but I hope she knows she is loved, admired and appreciated by all my fifty plus cake inspired trucking shades.



Fifty Shades of Cake

By Kay Keaton

 

I smoothed my hands down over my apron, which I’d tied snugly round my trim waist. I saw, in my reflection in the gleaming oven door, that my hands had left two floury trails, leading suggestively over my hips to the unfolding lily at the centre of the Cath Kidston print. I laughed sexily and tossed my hair, conker-shiny from my Babyliss Big Hair, back from my sloping shoulders. I’d used the product placement fee from Babyliss Big Hair to have a really good blow-dry that morning, and when your hair is that silky, you toss it a lot.

Nigel appeared in the kitchen doorway, his six-foot-six frame lean and lithe and clad elegantly in a dark three-piece suit, with a shirt so gleaming white and crisply starched I knew it wasn’t one I’d washed or ironed. There’s just something indefinably attractive about a man in a really smart shirt whose laundering you’ve had nothing to do with. A tiny smile played on my lightly-glossed lips, but I continued my work.

“Still at it?” Nigel moved behind me and placed a hand on each of my shoulders. “You’re always at it, aren’t you?”

“Still baking, if that’s what you mean. Two lemon drizzles and twenty-four cupcakes for the tearooms, and three private order birthday cakes, all to be ready for delivery by five, so I have my hands full.”


My buzzer started to go off as Nigel’s fingers crept down my chest.

“So have I,” he murmured. “Shall I help you weigh those eggs?”

“No thank you, darling,” I replied swiftly, turning off the buzzer just in time to hear the doorbell. “Why not answer the door?”

He loped off, only to reappear a minute later.

“Do you want to investigate this package? It’s such a thick, warm package, so full of promise. I think it will be in your interest to unwrap it.”


By now I was bent double, my jeans stretched over the rounded contours of my bottom, as I rummaged in the cupboard under the oven.

“Oh, you do it. I’m looking for my paddle attachment.”

There was a strange grunt from behind me, and as I backed out of the cupboard Nigel grabbed me by the hips.

“It was a box of brownies,” he muttered. “From that Scottish bird who does them by post.”

“Oh, you’ve already – “ But he silenced me with a hand over my mouth.

“Yes, I have.” His stern voice was gravelly. “And now I think we’ve heard quite enough from you.” His gravelly voice was stern. “Let’s give your mouth something else to do, eh?”


And before I knew what was happening he’d forced my jaw open and thrust into it a great, solid chunk of brownie. I couldn’t speak. I was breathless, alarmed but excited. It was more brownie than I could handle. Or was it? I was alarmed, but excited, breathless. He turned me round and bent me over the kitchen table, pressing his hips into the twin globes of my bottom. A crumb of brownie had actually gone into my windpipe and I was trying to cough, but I think he thought I was panting with pleasure. Funny, this close up, I could see streak marks on the oilcloth, and that Bolognese stain from Friday. If I could think of a really good product for cleaning oilcloth I’d write to them about product placement.

“You want it, don’t you?” Nigel’s breath was hot in my ear as he struggled with the button on my jeans, and if I’m to come completely clean, it had been a bit of a struggle getting it done up in the first place, so good luck with that, I thought.

I bucked against him, but he had me easily pinned down under his powerful body. Nigel likes to take the lead. In fact, once he actually tied my hands behind my back with the dog’s lead, but he had to untie me because our dog has a terrible drooling problem and to be honest the lead was a bit manky and neither of us really fancied it.

I’d managed to swallow a bit of the brownie now, and not without effort was able to cough the last chunk out across the table.

“Christ, Nigel,” I gasped, elbowing him in the ribs and getting off the table. “You have no fecking respect for those brownies. They’re far too rich and moist to eat in one go. And I always like a cup of tea to wash them down. You know that.”

Nigel ran his fingers seductively through his hair.


“Rich, like me,” he pointed out, slowly licking a speck of brownie off his middle finger, “and moist, like – “

But I had an eye on the clock and was fixing the paddle attachment to my electric mixer.

Nigel seized me roughly round the waist. “I prefer the hand-held paddle myself. Or sometimes I find the whisk remarkably effective.”

“My orders won’t fill themselves,” I pointed out, pulling away and snapping the lid on the mixer.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you, if they… filled themselves…?”

What?

“I’m not sure, it just sounded dirty.”

I flicked my hair over my shoulder again, and unfortunately one gleaming lock whipped Nigel right across one contact lens.

“Jesus, watch it!” He felt gingerly for the lens, which seemed to be still in place. “That really fucking hurt.”

“Sorry, darling.”

“You’re no fun today, anyway.”

I kissed his injured eye and as I pulled away I noticed how beautifully shaped his cheekbones were, how closely shaven his face. A subtle hint of Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet rose from his warm skin. Suddenly, my insides felt like a lemon drizzle cake with slightly too much drizzle, and it was far from unpleasant.

“Sorry,” I said again. “Look – I still have to make the buttercream. Help me. You like buttercream, don’t you? So silky, so creamy. We have to beat it, you know. Whip it. Till it’s all mixed up, and creamier than ever. Then you can dip your finger into it, and taste how creamy it is. You can eat as much as you want.”

He brightened visibly. I kissed him again, on the lips this time. It’s always worth giving time to a really good kiss. We broke apart slowly.

“Tell me again how rich you are,” I suggested in a soft voice. “I mean, really break it down this time. Assets. Savings and current accounts. Credits, debits. In, out. In, out. In. Well, you get the gist. And while you’re talking I’ll let you operate the Kitchen Aid paddle attachment. There are variable speeds. Each gives a slightly different result.” I loosened the bow of my apron. “I think you know where the power button is.”

Daffodil Cakes for Marie Curie

Andrew from Blu Hair and Beauty in Dundee contacted me recently to ask if I could help with a fundraiser they were holding in aid of Marie Curie Cancer CareEvery year thousands of people throughout the UK hold Blooming Great Tea Parties to help fundraise for this very worthy organisation, but this was an afternoon tea party with a
difference: the cakes were being served to people visiting Blu
Hair and Beauty for a Great Big Blow Dry! 

Clients were invited to make a donation for their blow dry, and to eat cake and drink tea too.  A win-win situation in my opinion!

When I arrived I was met by a lovely group of people who were all obviously very excited about the busy afternoon ahead.  It might have been pouring down outside but the welcome was warm and cheery.

Marie Curie Daffodil-Themed Cakes

The cakes?  Well they really had to be daffodil-themed didn’t they?  The clients who were being beautified could choose between lemon or vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, topped with sugar daffodils. The cakes looked lovely, so did the blowdried ladies, and it all helped the wonderful staff at Blu Hair to raise over £1,300! A fantastic effort I’m sure you’ll agree.  


Since then, I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the lovely feedback I’ve received.  Marie Curie featured the cakes on their Facebook page and they seemed to be a big hit there! 

It was an absolute pleasure to be involved with this lovely event, and if
 you’d like some help hosting a Great Big Tea Party in the Fife area for Marie Curie in the future, please do get in touch, and I’ll do my very best to help.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

I believe the title says it all.  It was a little something I made for a very special friend of mine on Mother’s Day.  Trying to get all of her favourite things in one cake wasn’t easy but I think I managed.

She enjoyed it, we enjoyed it and – to my utter delight – the Great British Chefs enjoyed it and featured it on their page too!

Needless to say, I’ll be making these wee beauties again.  And soon.  By demand!

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

Sunday, Mother’s Sunday

Potted Violet, Decorated Scented Candle and
Cupcake Drawing.  Lovely girls!

At almost 9am on a Sunday morning I was still in bed! That’s utterly unheard of, but wickedly delicious all at once. There were footsteps and whisperings going on downstairs between Mr K and the gang. I knew they’d be up early and giddy, but that was just fine. They are, after all, the reason today is special.


On my own for a few moments, I had time for a quiet moment of reflection on the sad news that a young mother in the village had lost her battle against cancer. I didn’t know her, but her courageous battle, her strength and her fight have moved everyone in our community. Her two daughters are only four and five, and the girls thought the funeral was one lovely big family party. The tragic passing of their mother was lost for a moment in the innocence of their youth.


The loss of your mother is destroying at any age. She’s your ultimate protector, your champion, your ‘go to regardless’ person. My mum passed when I was 32, and even at that adult age I felt lost, cheated and angry. I still feel that, every time I think I must tell her something, forget she’s gone and lift the phone to call her.


Now that I am a mother myself, I cherish every moment with my girls.  I know these moments are not infinite.  I only have them ‘on loan’ for a small time. Mr K and I are truly blessed with three brilliant, charming, funny girls, all different, all unique and all worthy of as much love and attention as we can heap on them.


Mr K and I surround ourselves with friends and family who also adore the girls, and we’re so fortunate to have these wonderful people around us because you never fully understand the loss until it happens: the void that’s left, the sorrow so sharp it makes you catch your breath every single time you remember.

The Gang of Five

My mother left us too soon but she left secure in the knowledge that we had each other. My dad cared for her beautifully, and now helps keep her memory alive for myself and my brother. My brother and I will make sure all five of her grandchildren know her even though she sadly only got to meet three of them.

Today is the day I allow myself a moment to catch my breath and to remember everything about her, down to the smell of the perfume she used to wear. Family was the most important thing to her.  A sentiment passed on to her by her mother, a woman I also adored. Our eldest daughter is named after them both and I hope she loves her sister as much as my mum loved my aunts. I hope she loves me as much as I loved my mum.

Middle kid with my cousin,
her Godmother

Whether you are an aunt, a mother-in-law, a godmother or a wonderful friend whose capacity for love is seemingly limitless, it doesn’t matter. All these people provide support that helps me take on the hardest role of all. I am grateful for all these people in my life and I hope they know how much.

To my friends who are mothers: well done. I mean that sincerely. I am in awe of you all and all you do every single day.  To those who have lost their mothers, to those who have suffered loss as mothers, and to those who long to be mothers but sadly can’t take on that role, you are special and loved every single day even if life passes so quickly you don’t always get a chance to stop and notice.

I was proud to have Mary as my mum and if, as my middle daughter suspects, she does have Facebook in heaven, I hope she is pain free, happy and proud too.

Mary Taylor.  Mum, granny, sister, aunt, wife and best friend.
Missed every day.

Oreo Cookies, Still Looking Good at 100!

Classic Oreo Biscuit

Many happy returns to Oreo biscuits! I wonder if they got a  telegram from the Queen to mark their special day? The Oreo certainly deserves to be recognised as biscuit royalty.
Each biscuit is crunchy enough to give a satisfyingly toothsome snap, and there’s a creamy vanilla or chocolate filling nestled inside. Is it a posh bourbon or a grown up custard cream? Maybe it’s the dramatic black and white colour scheme that makes it so alluring? Is it better to eat your biscuit in a ‘oner’ or to deconstruct it? It’s hard to decide!

1970s Oreo Advertising

Oreo’s adverts are also usually adorable, and with over 25 million Facebook friends, it’s certainly the most talked about biscuit in the world. Even the Financial Times was moved to discuss the biscuit’s birthday. Apparently, subtle changes to the biscuit have allowed it to cross tastebud boundaries and it’s taking China by storm. Who would’ve thought a biscuit would have resulted in the Oriental Pearl Tower being painted blue!  
  
I love the original biscuits in their tubular blue packets, the vaguely virtuous snack-sized ones, and the miraculous minis. They are incredibly versatile for baking use (if they survive the journey from the packet to the baking table!) and I often use them in Cookies and Cream Cheesecake, cupcakes and brownies. Still, I felt they deserved to be put to extra-special use now their birthday’s here.
I offer you ‘Peanut Butter Oreo Brownie Cakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing & Oreo Tops.’

Overkill? Yes, but if there is a better way to go, I can’t think of it.I saw on a blog (I wish I could remember where so I could credit the author) the idea of sandwiching two Oreo cookies together using peanut butter, putting them in a cake case, pouring on brownie batter and baking.  How good do these look?

Here I’ve whipped up Peanut Butter Buttercream too, and piped it onto the top of the cooked cakes. Actually, I’m not sure if these are cakes, brownies or if the biscuit is the star! Whatever the answer is, they’re divine. I swithered about sprinkling them with chopped peanuts or leaving them alone, but this is a birthday tribute after all, so it seemed only fitting to dress the cakes up like this … What do you think?
  

Peanut butter Oreo Mavis Cakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Naked Cakes

Hilary Duff’s Wedding Cake

Whilst taking a moment to catch up on some favourite blogs I came across one about ‘Naked Cakes’. The Tied Bow Inspiration blog is full of gorgeous images that I have pinned to my Pinterest boards including one I’d pinned previously without realising it was a ‘naked cake’ revolution. 

This one is beautiful. Simplicity and elegance just shine through in this stunning cake chosen by Hilary Duff and her husband for their wedding.  It’s a joy to see the sponge used as a feature and not hidden away.   There seems to be something almost criminal in disguising sponge under buttercream or ganache as often as we do.  Surely the sponge is actually the star of the show?  It’s what makes the cake a cake, and isn’t everything else is an accessory?  

KitscnBake Victoria Sponge


Take the classic and almost regal Victoria sponge, dressed with lashings of cream, oozing jam and finished with just a dusting of caster sugar on top.  Does it need anything else adorning it to make you want it?  I certainly don’t need any more convincing to sink my teeth in.  


What I want to devour personally and what I deliver to clients are sometimes two entirely different things.  Cakes destined for private orders or cafes need to be presented as ‘finished’, and they leave here covered in smooth Italian meringue, soft buttercream or shiny ganache.  Sprinkles, citrus zest, maltesers, crushed biscuits and fresh fruit are just some of the things I use to give them the finishing touches they deserve.


But I love a less beautified cake too, and this week I thought I’d try to give the simple approach a whirl with a Chocolate Orange cake. It’s a great cake to make and moist enough not to need lashings of buttercream topping. 


Full of fresh orange juice and plenty of lovely zest, it’s a three stack sponge with chocolate orange buttercream layered in between.

I added some lovely fondant-filled chocolate orange slices on the top with just a sprinkle of juicy zest to finish it all off. And here you have it, the best dressed ‘naked’ cake in Tayside!