Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Need I say more? 🍌🍫Seems like everyone in this pandemic has made banana bread. Well, this is an alternative. Whether it’s for breakfast, an evening treat or a basket you want to drop off to a loved one while socially distancing, these muffins are perfect.

This recipe uses chocolate chips but I recently ran out and used Cadbury dairy milk, chopped up and I think I’m going to do that from now on. It made the chocolate much more creamier and slightly melted in the middle. Way better than chocolate chips. Plus, its Cadbury!

I particularly love this recipe because it’s an all in one method. For those of you who dont know, that means you bung all the ingredients in one bowl and mix it altogether. No separate bowls, no creaming method and so much less washing up. As a Mum, all in one method and one pan meals are the saving grace to my sanity. Just makes things so simple and easy in a time that may not be. Plus, less washing up. Can I get a hallelujah?🙌🏻

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Only the best banana muffins ever.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 12

Equipment

  • Mixer
  • Measuring Scales
  • Small Bowl
  • Fork
  • Muffin tin
  • Muffin cases

Ingredients
  

  • 100 g Butter room temp
  • 2 Eggs medium, free range
  • 175 g Caster Sugar
  • 225 g Self-raising Flour sifted
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 tbsp Milk whole
  • 2 Bananas very ripe, mashed
  • 100 g Chocolate chips or chocolate chopped into small chunks

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, Gas Mark 4) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
  • Mix all the ingredients in one bowl until fully combined and smooth.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 cases and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Once fully baked, leave to cool on a cooling wrack.
  • Optional: melt more chocolate to drizzle over the top of the muffins or add a square of chocolate to the top of the muffins.
Keyword Banana, Chocolate, muffin

It is literally as simple as that! Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I would really appreciate it if you could share it on your socials and to all your friends. It would help me out a lot!

Also, while you’re here, go ahead and follow my blog and sign up for the email list so you will be the first to know when I upload. You can get the first scoop on any yummy recipes I share!

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Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cupcakes

Hi Readers,

First off, I would just like to announce that I am so proud to be working with the Alzheimer’s Society on this post. I really wanted to work with this charity because they have a Cupcake Day coming up and I thought, “What does the world need right now?” Cupcakes!
Although their Cupcake Day event is looking a little different to what they had planned (thanks COVID-19), they need your involvement more than ever!

We’re calling on bakers across the nation to rise as one and support the UK’s 850,000 people living with dementia. 700,000 will now need to self-isolate due to COVID 19. Every bit of dough you raise will help us be there for people affected by dementia at this difficult time. And the icing on the cake: by being part of it, you’ll feel more connected too.

Alzheimer’s Society

How YOU Can Help

You can help, by hosting a: household, online or later date Cupcake Day

Staying connected and having a bit of fun is what we all need right now. And let’s face it, cake is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether you’re a baking pro or a make-it-up-as-you-go, anyone can host a Cupcake Day. You can do it whenever you like and it’s super-simple to take part. It’s a great opportunity to join forces with thousands of others in kitchens up and down Britain. Use what’s in your cupboards, get creative and get the kids involved too – or bring your workmates together virtually.

Click here to get your FREE fundraising pack and let’s raise some dough for an amazing cause.

If you really can’t bake or you would just like to donate to this wonderful charity click HERE. They need you now more than ever.

How To Make Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cupcakes

If you’re eager to help but have no idea what to bake, I have created this tutorial for you. Everyone loves the most famous mouse pair in history and anyone can make these. Get the kids involved, make it a family activity or even bake with friends over zoom! Get involved and let’s make some money for charity!

Minnie and Mickey Mouse Cupcake Decorations

How to make Minnie Mouse bows and Mickey Mouse buttons out of fondant icing.
Prep Time10 mins
Active Time20 mins
Resting time1 d
Total Time1 d 30 mins
Keyword: fondant decoration

Equipment

  • 30 cm Ruler
  • Sharp knife or scalpel
  • Small paintbrush
  • Grease-proof paper
  • Rolling pin (small)
  • Small circle cutter or piping nozzle

Materials

  • 30 ml water
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 1 pack light pink fondant
  • 1 pack white fondant
  • 1 piece yellow fondant

Instructions

  • Roll out the light pink fondant to about 0.5 cm thick on a surface dusted with icing sugar.
  • Cut out 6 rectangles (12 cm x 2.5 cm) using a ruler and a sharp knife.
  • Cut out 6 more rectangles (5 cm x 1 cm) using a ruler and a sharp knife.
  • Brush the middle of one of the smaller rectangles with water and layer a larger rectangle perpendicularly over the top. It should look like a cross.
  • Brush the middle of the larger rectangle with water and fold the ends into the centre.
  • Fold the ends of the smaller rectangle over the larger one so that the ends overlap in the centre of the larger rectangle.
  • Turn the bow over and pinch the back (where the ends have joined) until you're happy with the shape of the bow.
  • Set aside to dry and repeat with the other rectangles.
  • Roll out the white fondant, on a surface dusted with icing sugar, to about 2.5 mm thick.
  • Cut out multiple (about 35) small circles using a small circle cutter or the end of a piping nozzle.
  • Gently attach the circles to the pink bows using water and a paintbrush.
  • To make Mickey's buttons, roll out the yellow fondant on a surface dusted with icing sugar, to 2.5 mm thick.
  • Cut out small circles with a small circle cutter or the end of a piping nozzle.
  • Using a rolling pin, gently roll the circles into even oval shapes.
  • Set all fondant decorations to the side to dry for 24 hours. Make sure they are in a cool, dry place and aren't in direct sunlight.

Once the decorations are dry, you can get on with assembling your cupcakes. I used my Vanilla Cupcakes (click the link to see that recipe) but you can use whatever cupcakes you like.

Next, you need to make the buttercream.

Vanilla Buttercream

A basic buttercream, perfect for piping.

Equipment

  • Mixer (hand or standalone)
  • Spatula
  • Sieve
  • Piping bag
  • Piping nozzle

Ingredients
  

  • 110 g butter
  • 3 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 500 g icing sugar

Instructions
 

  • Put the butter, milk and vanilla into a large bowl.
  • Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl.
  • Mix together on a slow speed (you might want to use a tea towel to cover the mixer as the icing sugar can go everywhere).
  • Once the icing sugar has started to combine, increase the speed of the mixer.
  • Once the buttercream is fully combined and achieves a fluffy consistency and light colour, use a spatula to ensure all the ingredients have mixed completely.
  • Decant into a piping bag with nozzle and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Keyword buttercream, icing, vanilla

Once you have made your icing, divide the buttercream into two bowls. Colour one bowl of icing red and one bowl of icing pink. I use the Wilton gel colours because you only have to use a tiny amount for a lot of colour.

After that, put the buttercream into piping bags with nozzles of your choice. Pipe circular swirls onto the cupcakes. Using small round biscuits (I use Oreos) as ears, push them gently into the icing. Finish off your cupcakes with the fondant decorations.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s come together during these uncertain times and do some good! If you can’t bake or your local supermarket is all out of flour, then please donate to this wonderful charity! They need you now more than ever.

Click here for more information about the Cupcake Day and to get your FREE fundraising pack: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/cupcake-day?utm_source=Blog&utm_medium=eight&four&utm_campaign=Cupcake_Day&utm_content=theramblingsoflottie

Click here to donate to the Alzheimer’s Society: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/cupcake-day/pay-in

 

Star Wars Day: Wookie Cookies

I know. You’re surprised to see Star Wars content on this blog. I haven’t even seen a full movie (don’t come for me). However, Steven and his family are Star Wars fans, verging on super fans. So, I thought this May the fourth, I would cheer them up with these! I first saw this idea on Pinterest and wanted to recreate it with my own recipe.

I have previously made other Star Wars themed bakes for Steven’s brother’s 40th birthday. We organised a Star Wars themed kids party (with no kids) in our new home (at the time), which included: Pin the Lightsaber on Yoda, Star Wars pun food (Ham Solo sandwiches), inflatable lightsabers, homemade photo booth and a Millennium Falcon cake.

It’s a relatively simple recipe but, nevertheless, may the force be with you! See? I can do Sci-Fi!

Recipe

You will need:

Ingredients

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 180g Butter (soft)
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 125g Golden Syrup
  • 190g chocolate
  • 100g white chocolate chips

Method

  1. Sift the flour and spices together in a large bowl.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add egg and golden syrup to creamed mixture and combine well.
  4. Gradually add in the flour and spices until fully combined and makes a loose dough.
  5. Split the mixture into 3. Wrap in clingfilm and chill overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 170° Fan.
  7. Remove the dough from the fridge and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  8. Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut out your gingerbread man shapes.
  9. Using a fork, make impressions in the dough to look like fur.IMG_8379
  10. Bake on a lined baking tray for 8-12 minutes (depending on size of cookies and whether you like them soft or crisp).
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack.IMG_8382
  12. Once fully cooled, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between until fully melted.
  13. Leave the chocolate to cool slightly before pouring it into a piping back (or you can use a zip lock bag)
  14. Snip the end of the piping bag (or the corner of the zip lock bag) and pipe a diagonal line across your gingerbread man.
  15. Place the white chocolate chips along this line. I used white candy melts because my cookies were quite large (and it’s all I had in the house #QuarantineLife).
  16. (Optional) pipe two eyes and a nose on your wookie with the chocolate.

So, there you go! Absolutely delicious wookie cookies! Not bad for a non-nerd, aye? I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you recreate these, please share the pictures with me! I would love to see your quarantine baking!

Happy Star Wars Day!


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Twitter: @Cook2903
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Simple But Cute Easter Treats

So, in the midst of this chaos, here’s some normality. 4 simple treats to make at home to celebrate Easter. There’s nothing fancy required or ingredient you need to brave the shops for. You won’t be elbowing Hugo or Biffy in the wholefoods shop for the last Madagascan Dodo Bird Feather to make these. Just your normal baking supplies. I really hope some of you can create these and find some escape in these recipes. Baking, for me, can be really therapeutic and, if that fails, you can always stress eat your bakes. Whichever way, I hope this helps.

1. Easter Bunny Sugar Cookies

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These are great to make with little ones because you can make the dough ahead of time and they’re really simple and quick. If you don’t have any Easter cookie cutters because ever other Mum in the country has bought them, then this is for you!

What you will need:

  • A batch of sugar cookie dough (see my recipe here).
  • Rolling pin
  • Gingerbread man cookie cutter
  • Chocolate eggs with a sugar crisp shell

Method

  1. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1 cm thickness.
  2. Cut out your ‘gingerbread men’.
  3. Place cookies on a lined baking tray upside down. The ‘legs’ will be the bunny’s ears.
  4. Place a chocolate egg in the centre and bend the arms over the egg so it looks like the bunny is cuddling the egg.
    IMG_8249
  5. Using a cocktail stick, give the bunny some eyes.
  6. Bake in a preheated (160ºC fan) oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Once cool add a nose with a blob of chocolate or a sprinkle.
    IMG_8250

2. Easter Nest Cupcakes

IMG_8269

Everyone knows how to make the traditional chocolate Easter nests. Well, they inspired me to make these in cupcake form with a difference.

What you will need:

  • A batch of 12 cupcakes (I used my vanilla cupcakes but you could make chocolate ones to make these treats even more chocolatey)
  • A batch of chocolate buttercream (bought or homemade)
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Mini chocolate eggs

Method

  1. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a round piping nozzle, with chocolate buttercream (if you don’t have a nozzle, just cut the end off to size).
  2. Pipe two rings (one on top of the other) of buttercream onto the top of the cupcake.
  3. Dip your cupcake (gently) into a shallow dish of chocolate sprinkles until the buttercream is coated in them. It should look like a sprinkle covered doughnut!
  4. Place two mini chocolate eggs in the centre of your nest.


3. Lemon Shortbread Bunnies

These are just so delish! Again, these are so simple and great to make with kids. Get creative! Pick your favourite sprinkles and unapologetically decorate!

IMG_8301

What you will need:

  • 125g butter (room temp)
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (I put in more because I love the lemon flavour)
  • 65g caster sugar
  • Bunny cookie cutter
  • Small flower cookie cutter (optional)
  • Icing sugar
  • Your favourite sprinkles

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together until creamy. Then add the lemon zest.
  3. Sift in the flour and combine. Using your hands, form into a dough. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the fridge and roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 5mm thickness.
  5. Cut out your bunny shapes and place on a lined baking tray. You could also cut out some small flower shapes for the tail! If you don’t have a flower cutter, don’t worry! Continue reading!
    IMG_8288
  6. Place the baking tray of cookies into the fridge for 10-15 minutes. You could also put a large hole in the top of them if you with to put ribbon through them to hang.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies have a golden tinge.
  8. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
  9. Mix together icing sugar and water to make a simple icing (you could also add lemon juice to give it more lemon flavour).
  10. Cover the flower shaped cookies in the icing or carefully spoon/pipe the icing onto your bunny to give it a tail. Add your sprinkles to the icing to create a tail made of sprinkles or simply leave it as it is! If you’re creative, you could give him sprinkle ears!

4. Floral Bunny Ear Cupcakes

These are slightly more challenging but I think they’re so cute! I used these reusable cupcake cases that are silicone plant pots which I think were perfect for this design! You can use whatever you like.

IMG_8309

What you will need:

  • A batch of your favourite cupcakes (or you can use my vanilla cupcake recipe)
  • A batch of vanilla buttercream
  • Piping bags
  • Variety or piping nozzles
  • Food colouring
  • Candy melts or chocolate

Method

  1. Melt your candy melts in a piping bag (I used a microwave. Heated for 30 seconds then squeezed the bag to mix the melts. Then heated for another 30 seconds and repeated until I got my desired runny texture). Then snip a small piece of the end of the piping bag off. You can use chocolate, however, it is not as stable.
  2. On grease proof paper, pipe bunny ear shapes. (I draw my design before hand and placed it underneath the grease proof paper so I could trace it).
  3. Leave to harden on a flat surface for 24 hours.
  4. Separate your vanilla buttercream into different bowls and colour. I used yellow, pink and violet as I thought they were nice spring colours.
  5. Put your buttercreams into separate piping bags with different nozzles.
  6. Apply a base of green buttercream to look like grass.
  7. Carefully peel your candy melt bunny ears off of the grease proof paper and delicately push them into the buttercream.
    IMG_8304
  8. Pipe a variety of flowers and shapes onto the cupcake. You can always just pipe swirls and dots! Try to pipe them onto the cupcake in a way that supports the ears.

IMG_8325


And there you go! Very simple and quick Easter treats. I hope this brings some joy to your household. If you do create these, please share pictures with me! I would love to see them!

Be kind. Stay Safe.

 

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Instagram: @charlotterose293
Twitter: @Cook2903

My Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

An absolute classic. This is my go to cupcake recipe. It makes lovely, fluffy and absolutely moreish cupcakes. Perfect when topped with vanilla buttercream or a sharp blueberry icing. So simple and yummy, ideal for kids to decorate and cover in sprinkles!

IMG_8265

Ingredients

  • 110g butter (room temp)
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • 120ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (fan)/ 180ºC/ gas 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  4. Sift the two flours into a separate bowl and combine.
  5. Add the vanilla extract to the milk.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour 1/3 of the milk and beat again. Repeat until all flour and milk is added.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases until they’re two thirds full.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes. Insert a skewer into the centre of the cupcakes to check they are cooked (it should come out clean).
  9. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to fully cool. Once completely cool, ice and decorate how you like!

 

The Best Gingerbread Biscuits

I think my most favourite part of this festive season is the baking. One of the best things to bake, that will most definitely get you in the Christmas spirit (and make your house smell amazing), is gingerbread. I recently made a batch and I forgot how much I love to bake and decorate biscuits. I got fully immersed, to the point where I didn’t realise hours went by. This is only because I was doing really intricate decoration and I’m a perfectionist. The average person will do this in way less time. Especially when each batch only takes 10 minutes in the oven!

These biscuits are perfect to make with kids. You can make the dough ahead of time. Just allow 10 minutes after taking it out of the fridge for it to de-chill and simply roll it out onto a floured surface. You’ll want to roll it out to about 4 mm thickness. If you wish for your biscuits to be crunchier and have a snap, roll them slightly thinner. Similarly, if you wish for them to be more chewy, roll them slightly thicker.

IMG_8052

IMG_8056

When it comes to decorating, I always favour a simple plain white royal icing. Royal icing is harder than water icing so your design is more likely to last longer. I prefer not to colour it as I think the white looks so elegant against the dark brown gingerbread. If you’re decorating with children, I recommend lots of different colours and perhaps using a simple water icing. I get a lot of enjoyment from piping so I spent a lot of time preparing my designs and getting them perfect.

IMG_8076

Below you will find the gingerbread biscuit recipe I use and also the royal icing recipe.

Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 180g Butter (soft)
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 125g Black Treacle

Method

  1. Sift flour, bicarbonate soda and spices together into a large bowl.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and treacle. Mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture gradually as you mix until it is all combined and forms a loose dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 and wrap individually in cling film.
  6. Chill overnight – 2 days.
  7. When you’re ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to de-chill for 10 minutes.
  9. Roll out dough onto a floured surface 4 mm thick.
  10. Cut biscuit shapes out and place on a lined baking tray.
  11. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer onto a cooling wrack.

IMG_8067

Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

  • 325g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Method

  1. Sift icing sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk egg whites in a stand mixer or hand held mixer with lemon juice until frothy.
  3. Slowly add icing sugar until all combined.
  4. Whisk until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Pour into a prepared icing bag if you wish to pipe your designs. Otherwise, you can store in an air-tight container in the fridge for a week.

IMG_8071

Then, start having fun! You can get the family involved or use it as some therapeutic me time (like I did). You can add sprinkles, edible glitter or sweets. Go wherever the Christmas spirit takes you! I would love to see your creations so please share them!

Merry Baking!

I am the owner and creator of all images in this post.

Minecraft Cake Tutorial

IMG_7896

This weekend, my younger brother turned 12 and he requested a Minecraft themed party. I volunteered to make him a Minecraft cake and he was so excited. It only occurred to me later on that I was going to have to figure out HOW to do it.
So, if like me, you want to make a child’s birthday or you’re just wondering how to do it, I’m here to help!
My brother told me he wanted a chocolate cake but you can make any flavour cake you’d like. I used a 10 inch (25cm) square cake pan.

 

1. Make the Cake

Ingredients
For the cake:

  • 280g (10oz) butter, room temperature
  • 280g (10oz) caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g (9oz) self raising flour
  • 25g (1oz) Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan, Gas 4) and thoroughly grease a square 10 inch (25cm) cake tin.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix well.
  4. Add eggs to butter mixture, one at a time, and add 1/5 of flour mixture after each egg.
  5. Pour in vanilla extract and mix until combined and pour into cake tin.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, until a skewer, inserted in the centre of the cake, comes out clean.
  7. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out on a wire rack.

2. Assemble the Cake


For the filling:

  • 200g Cadbury dairy milk (or your favourite chocolate), melted

Method

  1. Once the cake is fully cooled, level the chocolate cake by cutting the top until flat then divide the cake length ways through the middle. Put the shaved off chocolate cake to one side to use later.
  2. Pour over 3/4 of the melted chocolate on the bottom half and sandwich the other half on top.
  3. Cut out a section of the cake. You can use my template below or create your own (but remember to make the shape out of squares, like Minecraft!).
  4. Layer the cut out piece on top of the cake using the remaining melted chocolate to fix it to the cake.
  5. Place cake onto a cake board (you can also use some melted chocolate to fix the cake to the board).

Template

16.5cm

3. The ‘Dirt’

For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 225g butter
  • 175g melted chocolate, room temperature
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl. I used the microwave, heating it at 30 second intervals and stirring in between to avoid burning the chocolate.
  2. Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Mix the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar in a mixer until smooth.
  4. Add the chocolate and mix until thick and creamy.

For the ‘dirt’:

  • 15 chocolate digestive biscuits
  • left over chocolate cake

Method

This will be used to pat on the side of the cake to give the soil look of the grass square in Minecraft.

  1.  Put chocolate digestives into a zip lock bag and close it up. With a rolling pin or a mallet, beat the biscuits into crumbs.
  2. Crumble the left over chocolate cake shavings into the bag and mix until it looks like soil.
  3. Pipe the chocolate buttercream on the sides of the chocolate cake using a piping bag and a round nozzle. Then, pat the ‘dirt’ mixture onto the sides.

4. The ‘Grass’

For the vanilla buttercream (the grass):

  • 110g butter
  • 500g icing sugar, sifted
  • 60ml (3tbsp) semi-skimmed milk
  • 2tsp vanilla essence
  • green food colouring (preferably gel)

Method

This will be dyed green and will be the grass on top of the ‘dirt’ squares.

  1.  Mix together, butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla essence in a mixer until combined.
  2. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add green food colouring (I use gel food colouring as it gives a stronger colour and doesn’t add extra liquid to the mixture).
  3. Mix in the food colouring until the colour is even throughout.
  4. Put buttercream into a piping bag with a star tip.
  5. Pipe small spikes all over the top surfaces of the cake in neat rows to look like grass.

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Finishing Touches

I piped more of the green buttercream onto the cake board to give the effect of layered grass. It also allowed me to secure fondant figures from Minecraft to the cake board. These figures were bought online but if you have time and the skill, you could make them yourself ahead of time. I added the element of sand to the cake board by crumbling plain digestive biscuits and securing it using edible glue (you could also use water icing). Similarly, I used edible glue to secure blue fondant to the cake board to add water to the scene.

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I was really proud of this cake, mostly because my brother was super happy with it and was so excited to see it. This is a really simple design for Minecraft. If you have the imagination, you can create different scenes using this basic technique.

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I own all the images in this post.

Olivia’s 1st Birthday

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So, my baby turned one year old this week. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I’d feel the way I did. I thought I would be excited to throw my little girl her first ever birthday party and have a great time with friends and family, creating a memory that would last a life time. I did not see it this way.

Instead, the week leading up to her birthday, filled me with dread, heart ache and reminiscence. I couldn’t believe that a year ago I was holding this precious, tiny baby that was all mine and depended on me for everything. Now, she crawls around the house at speed, wants to feed herself and doesn’t need me to rock her to sleep at night. I felt like time was already slipping through my fingers and I wanted it to slow down. I got quite down about it, to the point where I didn’t want to throw her a party but the fear of regret forced me to power through.

I teared up in the middle of HobbyCraft buying decorations, I cried putting up pictures of her monthly milestones and the night before, I laid in bed thinking back to my labour I was in a year ago. The first time I saw her face.  I sobbed like a baby. I felt ridiculous. “She’s only 1! It’s only the first year of many. I have 17 more! Oh… I only have 17 more. This last one went so quick and let’s face it, she’s not going to want me to throw her birthday parties when she’s a teenager so maybe I only have 12 at most?” is what I thought to myself. It was that moment I realised, I’m not going to have many chances to throw her birthday parties so I need to grab every opportunity and go all out!

We had a party at our house and only invited family (as that is all we could fit in our house). I would have loved to invite all our friends too and have Olivia surrounded by as many people that love her as possible but we struggled for room as it was. I decorated the whole of the downstairs, the day before. As well as baked cupcakes and a separate cake for Olivia to destroy. I even made a fondant duck, as we have a bit of an obsession at the moment, in hopes it would encourage her to destroy the cake. I spent 4 hours cooking and preparing party food and organising how to display it (I’m a bit OCD when it comes to parties).

So, the big day arrived. I felt fine. Steven got Olivia out of bed in the morning and we all sat in our bed talking about the day ahead and then he hands me a card. I assumed it was for Olivia but he said it was for me. Puzzled, I opened it and on the front was a picture of all of us and the words ‘Happy Birth Day’. Upon opening the card, I couldn’t stop the floods of tears as I read the words ‘Thank you for being such a good Mum’. Any Mum out there knows, there’s nothing more rewarding than someone telling you, you’re a good Mum or that you’re doing a good job because that’s all you hope for and you don’t really know if you’re doing a good enough job for your little ones. So there you go, my plan to hold it all together was thrown out of the window before 9am.

Afterwards, we took Olivia downstairs to show her the present from us. The night before, Steven and I had spent the evening building an IKEA play kitchen so she could play with it the morning of her birthday. It filled us with joy to see she immediately was smiling and trying to open the doors and move the tap.

The party started after Olivia’s nap and afternoon bottle. Soon, the house was filled with family and a serious amount of presents for Olivia. She was very spoilt. I loved seeing people’s faces when they saw Olivia. She just lights up a room and makes everyone smile. Everyone wanted to hold her and speak to her and as a Mum you can only hope that she continues to be surrounded by such love.

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After opening presents, we stripped her down to her vest and sat her on the dining table. We sang happy birthday (which she hated as she is not a fan of group singing) and let her go to town on her birthday cake. I’m so glad I decided to do this because the pictures are ones I will treasure forever. She was in her element (she’s more like her mother than I thought) grabbing chunks of cake and eating them, making a mess and just enjoying herself.

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One of the many lessons I’ve learnt this past year of being a Mum is how to sacrifice your own feelings to make your children happy. I know this was only a small thing, a birthday party, but it’s made me more comfortable to do the best for her and create as many happy memories for her as possible, even if it breaks my heart. In the end, seeing her happy will mend it again.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart xxx

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Thank you for reading!

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Easy Easter Brownies

These brownies are great to make with kids. If you’re looking for something to do with the little ones this Easter holiday, why not try these delicious brownies? They’re so much fun to make and you can use all the chocolate you accumulate over the season as these brownies are so versatile you can pretty much use any chocolate in them.

I have a confession to make. I use boxed brownies. I am a mother of one 5 month old baby. I don’t have time (or the energy) to make brownies from scratch so I always keep a box (or 6) of Betty Crocker’s brownie mix in my cupboard. It’s such a life saver to have when you need it. Been invited over for a family BBQ and don’t know what to bring? Need a treat? Meant to buy a present for someone but you totally FORGOT? It’s a rainy day and the kids are bored? Have no fear and take to the cupboard! You can change them up to suit whoever is going to indulge in them. Know a peanut butter lover? Add a swirl of peanut butter or Reese’s pieces. S’mores fan? Add mini marshmallows and digestive biscuit pieces.
Also, Mum hack, bake a batch after the kids are asleep, add ice cream and eat from the pan. You won’t be sorry!

Click here to buy 6 boxes from amazon as it works out way cheaper than buying them from the supermarket. Plus they can sit in your cupboard as they don’t have a short expiration date.

Brownies

If you’re wanting to make Easter brownies follow the recipe below. They’re super easy and so fun to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Brownie Mix (or your favourite recipe of chocolate brownies)
  • 4 Cadbury Crème Eggs (you can also use the caramel eggs which are just as yummy)
  • 1 family sized bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs (250g)
  • 100g white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 200g white chocolate (to drizzle)
  • Sprinkles (for decoration (you can get Easter ones to make it more fun))

Method

  1. Make the brownies according to instructions on the box.
  2. Add in the white chocolate chips and mix well.
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  3. Pour in the brownie mix into a lined and greased baking tin.
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  4. Bake in a preheated oven (temperature according to the recipe you’re following).
  5. While the brownies are in the oven cut the Cadbury Crème Eggs in half.
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  6. Place the Cadbury Mini Eggs in a zip-lock bag and smash with a rolling pin or tenderiser until some are crushed and some are whole.
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  7. Take the brownies out of the oven 5 minutes before the suggested time. Push the halves of Cadbury Crème Eggs into the brownie and a handful of the crushed Cadbury Mini Eggs.
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  8. Put the brownie back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the brownie from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. Once cool, melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the brownie.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining Mini Eggs and sprinkles over the brownie and allow to set.
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These are perfect to enjoy at an Easter party or after an egg hunt.

Click the image below to buy the boxed brownies that go perfectly with this recipe.