Archives for posts with tag: Home Bake

English Mum is hosting a ‘Baked With Love Bakeoff’ and now that Owen, my brand new oven, is in full effect, I had to get involved.  I like making Valentine’s day treats for my sweeties and wanted to do something new, so I tried Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I have seen many recipes for Red Velvet Cake, all of which use quite a bit of red food colouring, but the one from Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake is one that does not.  It’s an American style recipe which relies on the chemical reaction between baking soda and white wine vinegar to create the ‘red’ effect.

It was more like a science experiment than baking, but that was part of the fun.

red velvet science experiment

It started out like your everyday cake mixture using the creaming method: butter, sugar, cocoa…

Cocoa powder

Then alternately add buttermilk and flour…

Mix it up

But with this mixture you combine baking soda and white wine vinegar. Vinegar in cupcakes?! okaay…

now for the science bit

Then keep mixing until it becomes a glossy mixture…

glossy mixture

I filled each cupcake cup halfway and popped them in the new oven. (Affectionately named Owen thanks to the suggestion of Leah and Phil).

Owen shows off

Et voila… Cupcakes! They didn’t come out as red as I anticipated, but they taste amazing and are actually really velvety in texture.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

As these cakes are celebrating Valentine’s Day, I decorated them with marshmallow topping (mini G’s favourite) and heart shaped sprinkles.

Valentine's decorations

And they went down a treat with the little love of my life – mini G…

baked with love

Baked with love bakeoff


It’s that time of year when British apples are coming into season. The autumn season is my favourite food and weather-wise. I know, you say it is still summer, but in the UK not really. So, now I am thinking of all the wonderful ways to use the late summer/early autumn fruits. Originally, I thought about doing an apple pie, but Martin suggested an apple tart. As I had never made one before, I took on the challenge. I turned to Eric Lanlard’s Home Bake for his version of an Apple and Quince Tart. Quinces were not on the menu in our house so they were left out. Here’s my version:

To start, I used 2 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped and placed them in a casserole dish. Then I covered the apples with 3 tablespoons of caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I covered the casserole dish and put in a 160˚C preheated oven for 20 minutes.

While the apples baked, I prepared the pastry. I used ready rolled sweet pastry in a sandwich tin. It’s not the traditional vessel for a tart, but we divide our desserts into portions and freeze them and this is the easiest dish for that. Put the prepared pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.


The apples from the oven will have formed a compote. Mine looked like they exploded and I thought I was going to have to start over, but after the bubbles relaxed and I gave it a stir, it was the perfect consistency. Leave these to cool.

Apple compote

Once your pastry is chilled and your apple compote is cool, start to prepare the apple slices. Using 2 Bramley apples, peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Remove pastry from fridge and spread the apple compote on the bottom of the prepared pastry. Arrange the thinly sliced apples in a circular pattern around the tin. Once the compote is covered by the apple slices, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Apple slices over compote

Finished apple slices

Bake in the 160˚C oven for 35 minutes. The tart is done when the apples are softened, the edges of the fruit are going a bit crispy and the pastry is a golden brown.

baked apple tart

Leave to cool. Once cooled, brush the tart with sieved apricot conserve. Not only does it make look fancy, it adds a subtle sweetness.

apple tart with apricot glaze

We served our tart with Cornish vanilla ice cream. Serious, YUM!

Apple tart ready to eat

George celebrated her 30th birthday on Tuesday and to mark the occasion, she threw a huge party and no birthday party is complete unless there are cupcakes involved.

Wanting to set a challenge, I decided to test a new recipe. This one was out of my trusty Home Bake cookbook. Everything I have made from this book has been incredible, the cupcakes were no exception. (Eric Lanlard is a genius)

The room was decorated in purple and silver, so I created vanilla cupcakes with purple frosting in purple and silver cases.

And thankfully, the cakes were a hit with the guests, too!

Happy birthday, George! 30 is a great year.

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