Archive | November 2016

Hidden Surprise Piñata Cake

Hellloo, I finally got to make that cake! So we made a piñata cake! This consists of layers of cake with sweets hidden in the middle which fall out when you cut into it.

I used a basic vanilla cake recipe which involves weighing the eggs and using the same weight of flour, caster sugar (I love using golden caster sugar as it gives a lovely taste and a golden darker colour) and butter, along with a tsp of vanilla extract. I know a lot of people  prefer the all in one method but I definitely think you end up with a fluffier cake in the end if you cream the butter and sugar together until it’s really fluffy and airy.

Then beat in the eggs, fold in the flour and divide into 3 cake tins and into the oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 mins. Towards the end of the cooking time test that it is cooked using a skewer, if it comes out clean with no cake mix on it then you’re done!

Place on a wire rack to cool, the sponge should be springy and fluffy to create a light and airy sponge.

While this is cooling you can make the buttercream icing. I use 150g of unsalted butter to every 280g of icing sugar and add a tsp of vanilla extract. Beat the butter with the vanilla extract until it is soft and fluffy. The fluffier it is the lighter the buttercream will be. I like using buttercream icing as you can use so many different nozzles to create different effects.

Once the butter and vanilla extract is fluffy slowly sieve the icing sugar in a little bit at a time and ensure it mixes into the butter completely to avoid any lumps. The more air you can get into it each time lighter it will be. When you’ve got all the icing sugar combined with the butter you can add milk a table spoon at a time and beat in to achieve the correct consistency. If you are planning on piping the buttercream you need it to be a bit firmer to ensure it keeps its shape. To make this much bettercream I used 1400g of icing sugar and 750g of unsalted butter.

Now the cake has cooled you should have 3 layers of cake. You need to cut the middle out of one to create a doughnut shape. Keep the centre piece to one side, it always comes in handy and I hate wasting anything!

I used seedless raspberry jam to create a classic Victoria sponge style cake and some of the buttercream icing we made earlier to fill the inside of cake.

You then flip this over and place it onto the bottom layer of cake on a board and repeat on the other side of the doughnut. It helps to put a bit of buttercream on the board to help stick the cake to it. It would be horrible if it fell off!

You can now fill the middle of the doughnut with any sweets of your choosing. For an ever so slightly healthier alternative you could fill it with fruit, but only if it is going to be served straight away.

You need to make sure that you have packed the sweets in quite tightly as they need to be able to support the top layer of cake which now goes on top.

I then stuck the middle bit which we cut out earlier on the top with buttercream to give me something to ice later.

Then ice all over the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This does not need to be perfect as we are going to ice over it again.

We now need to colour the buttercream icing. I prefer to use gel food colouring as it keeps the consistency of the icing and a darker, stronger colour.

Put the icing into a piping bag (I like to use disposable ones, no washing up!). You can use whatever nozzle you want to use but I like the star nozzle as it creates a nice swirl when piped. As I used three different colours of icing I put it into the bag 1 spoonful at a time in order to create a mixed colour when I piped.

This star nozzle is good for piping swirls. You then need to pipe all around the side of the cake. To do these ones I started in the middle of each swirl and iced outwards. I then iced the extra piece of cake we put on top with different swirls and flowers in darker food colouring

But you can ice this however you want 🙂

And that is pretty much it! I was lucky enough to get a photo of it after it was cut which is always nice to see how it looks inside!

You will need a very sharp knife to get through all those sweets!!!

Otato Nessie Ladle

I was looking for kitchen appliances today after seeing a rather nice slow cooker advertised in between an episode of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I could not find the slow cooker but I did however discover this Loch Ness Monster shaped ladle. 

It is made by a company called Otato and there’s a whole range of Nessie related kitchen utensils including the whole Nessie family in Blue, Pink and Green! Must be the most adorable kitchen utensil of all time? 

How could anyone be sad with this little guy to keep you company in the kitchen while you’re making your soup?

Just when I thought I couldn’t love this range any more I delve a little bit deeper and discover this little guy!!! 

Little Nessie Tea Infuser?! 

As I’m franticly adding a whole Nessie family to my basket and selecting next day delivery my flat mate says to me “Samie, when do you ever make soup?”

Now I’m having to regretfully remove this little collection of adorable little monsters from my basket to make room for the more boring things I need in life like an ironing board!

However if you are a soup maker or you have the benefit of being able to offer a loving home to these adorable little guys why wouldn’t you?! 

1 Week to Go!!!

1 week until one of the most important nights of the year!

BBC Children In Need is such an important charity who make such a difference to so many people. That is why it is so important to show your spots and raise lots for Pudsey! I am so proud to support this charity every day with both work and in my own time and incredibly excited that for the first year ever I will get to watch live from the studio!!! 

This year will be the first since Terry Wogan sadly passed away in January this year and I’m sure the amazing charity that he helped to create will continue to do amazing things.

Plans already in place for the fundraising for next year and it is looking like it is going to be a jam packed Pudsey filled year! 

Homeless: 250 Ducks

When I moved into my lovely little old flat 15 months ago we inherited a rather large built in display cabinet. Neither of us had much of value to put in it and so it was decided that the Ducks could move in. 

The Ducks were lovingly arranged into the cabinet by my flatmate Ellie, they have been a lovely central point to our living room ever since and earned our flat the title of “The Duck Residency”.

It has suddenly dawned on me that I do not have a big display cabinet in my new flat. Where will the Ducks live? 😦 

Sam for Prime Minister?

So this man is now the President of the United States? Surely this means I can be the next Prime Minister after Theresa May?

I may need to win the lottery first. They say money cannot buy you happiness, but in this case it looks like it can buy you a country.

Still waiting for America to turn around and claim the worlds best troll for 2016 and then quack on with a real election. 

Dear Mr Ford…

Dear Mr Ford, I hope you are well.

How do I know you Mr Ford? Well I do not know you exactly. I know you as Mr Ford as that was the make of Wing Mirror I picked up off of the floor after you ploughed your car into mine at 8am this morning. Accidents happen right? I know driving onto the other side of the road and into another car could have been caused by a minor lapse of concentration. Maybe you were tired or you’d had a bad day and were reflecting on this, who knows? You drove into me, so I beeped the horn to alert you to stop, switched off my engine and opened the door thinking we were about to exchange details. But where were you Mr Ford? 500 metres down the road driving away as fast as you could. I picked up your wing mirror, so if you would like it back it is in the boot of my car waiting for you. I don’t suppose you’ll be back for it though, you can’t have wanted it that much to leave it in the middle of the road. Luckily you didn’t hurt me, or cause much damage to my car, not that you bothered to check and you definitely came off worse. Maybe next time you decided to hit someone at 30mph though it might be nice of you to check that you havnt hurt them. After all the damage to the car can be repaired and frankly is not worth my no claims bonus, but this was a quiet road which no cars could go down for long periods of time. Are you really happy driving away and leaving someone potentially hurt in a car where no one would find them? Shows a lot about character Mr Ford, and it appears you are one of society’s scumbags. 


Miss James Blonde Adam Slam with Black Stripes. 

The Duck in the Room

I have a lot of Ducks. I had a friend of a friend visit last night, he came in and sat down in my living room which currently houses a rather impressive duck collection. As I have only met this guy once before I was doing the usual hostess things, offering Chai Tea, and apologizing for the current state of my flat.

About 8 minutes of being sat surrounded by these ducks he says “So… About the Ducks?”

So about the ducks. One Duck was bought for me around 8 Years ago. It was a Statue of Liberduck. Or Duck Number 1 as it is now known. I liked this duck, and then I saw Michael Quackson, Bad Mother Clucker advertised on eBay. Dad had the job of waiting up that night in order to bid on this duck with absolutely no insight into what a snowball effect it would create. Suddenly I was receiving ducks from everyone for every occasion and before I knew it they were everywhere.

As I told him of this story it was dawning on me that I was perhaps coming across a little bit strange. Not so much a crazy cat lady, here I am as a crazy duck lady.

“Have you ever thought of setting up some sort of Duck fan base?” he asked.

I told him that no that was not something I had considered doing, but I had just started blogging.

“Is it a blog about Ducks?”

Not as such, it was originally to blog about my experience of home buying, but that all happened a little bit too fast, and now I was blogging about everything and anything that springed into my mind.

“So it’s not a Duck fan base? What’s it called?”

A Little Bit Quackers….

Sorry Nikki, I did try to be normal but I think I will always be that slightly embarrassing friend…. #JustActNormal