Crabapple Jelly

To my delight, I was handed a whole tree’s worth of crabapples. I decided to make crabapple jelly. 

Firstly, I opened up the crabapple bag and loads of flies came out so I squealed like a pig and ran around my kitchen. Once I had gotten over myself, I washed the fruit and removed the bruised bits and stalks. I filled many pans with the crabapples and put enough water in to cover the fruit. I put the fruit on the boil and went on a fly hunt (standard). When the fruit was soft I poured it into many sieves lined with muslin cloths to drip into bowls overnight. In the morning, I excitably lifted the fruit out (without squeezing it) and admired my fruity syrup. IMPORTANT: If you squeeze the muslin cloth/fruit the jelly juice goes cloudy. No one wants cloudy jelly.

I measured the juice and mixed it with A LOT of sugar (7 parts sugar to 10 parts juice). I boiled it on a low heat for what seemed like an age. I skimmed the top regularly and tested it for jelly consistency by blobbing the syrup on the back of a cold spoon. IMPORTANT: Once the syrup solidifies on the back of a cold spoon, it is ready to pour into a sterilised jar. 

Behold. I made three jars out of 300(ish) crabapples. It took 9 hours of effort, twenty fruit flies and a lot of washing up. It tastes REALLY good, it’s sweet with a sour note. As you can see I already ate the top half of the jar.

Jam is a bargain in the supermarket, that’s for sure. Never take jam for granted. Bit crabby now.


Guinea pig cake

My sister turned 25 this week and to celebrate we bought her some guinea pigs. Lotty has always been animal mad and works at Chester Zoo. The grey pig is called Gin and the brown one is Rhubarb.
So…. it only made sense to make a guinea pig cake. A sticky toffee guinea pig cake. I was very impressed with the recipe I found online (see link). You just have to remember to buy a lot of dates. 

He’s covered in toffee buttercream fur and his feet and ears are made out of fudge. I’m pretty happy with him, he’s about 5x bigger than the baby pigs!

Blastocyst cake

I made a blastocyst for a colleague’s leaving cake. For those of you who are not sure what a blastocyst is, it is an embryo that is about 5 days old (humans that is). I made a vanilla sponge and plopped plenty of vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam inside. I then created the embryo by using sweets. Those  ‘jelly tot’ like sweets look a bit GM. If you’re not convinced it’s a blastocyst, then feel free to think of it as a UFO or something equally fun. 

Eggy birthday cake!

Happy birthday to my sister-in-law Cleo!!! I made a Victoria sponge and jazzed it up with chocolate fingers and mini eggs. Top tip: go to Pound Land for the eggs and fingers and make a lot more buttercream than you think you need. 

Snowy face

I made a snowman face out of lemon cake (not yellow snow…..) . He has coal eyes and a big tangerine nose. Not sure what I can pretend his smile is made out of…. 

Usually snowmen wear scarves but I thought this one looked a bit fannnncccy so I bobbed him in a bow tie. I love a good bow tie, I don’t know why we don’t all wear them more often! I rouged his cheeks to give the world inpression he’s had too much sherry. Well we’ll see how Jeremy goes down at lunch time (and yes I always name my snowmen … although most of time I make snow cats). Why hasn’t it snowed yet?!?!???

Festive Yule Log

Nigella is the answer to all things naughty and chocolatey. Behold, my first Yule log in a very long while. I broke my hand mixer so it took me a lot longer than normal to whisk my egg whites. Check out Nigella’s website for the recipe:

The Yule log barely has any ingredients in it actually, it’s a flour free recipe so it makes a very light sponge. Be careful not to burn it because it doesn’t take long to cook in a shallow baking tin. Best to let the sponge cool too before adding the chocolate buttercream, otherwise you just end up with a lot of melted butter…

I finished my Yule log with some icing sugar snow, holly and a friendly robin. 

Merry November!

Happy Halloween !

I’ve had a bit of a baking dry spell recently and Halloween was the perfect excuse to make a cake and dress up. My friends and I decided to dress up as the Scooby Doo gang. Jinkies!

I made a ghostly green lemon drizzle cake with purple icing. The drizzle syrup was dark green to make the sponge look particularly gruesome. I plonked a friendly little spider on the top. I’m not really a fan of scary things! 

I covered the cake in purple icing and then piped a swirl of white icing on top. I used a cocktail stick to give it a webbed look by dragging it through the icing evenly. 

Voila! That’s the only kind of spider I want to find in my kitchen….
‘Let’s do what we do best Scoob, eat’ – Shaggy