Evenin' folks (:
As you know all know, it's Valentine's Day next week so I thought I would do a couple of posts for it! Part One, this post, will be a gift/baking and overall knick knack one. Now, i'm not a massive fan of Valentine's, I don't think there should just be one day out of the whole year to celebrate your love for someone, where people make that special effort. Personally, i'd like to be shown this kind of appreciation every day and not just on February 14th, just without all the soppy poems and pink, floaty hearts. Saying this, I also don't get people who are overly bitter about it either, I know many people that would rather rip their faces off then have anything to do with it!
However, just because i'm not it's number one fan, doesn't mean everyone else feels the same, so I thought I'd jump on the love wagon this year and help celebrate with you. I've been pottering away in the kitchen today, making some treats that are super cheap and easy to make.
FOR 12 CUPCAKES
- 175g butter, softened
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 200g self raising flour
- 3 tbsp raspberry (or natural, if you like) yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Red (or pink) food colouring. Gel is best, I didn't use gel as I only have liquid (which is why it looks runny!)
- 225g butter
- 400g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon milk
2. For the cupcakes: put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat for several minutes so that it's pale and fluffly. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and make sure they are fully combined with the mixture. Then, gently fold in the flour in 3 parts and remember to scrap down the sides of the bowl! When combined, add in the yogurt and the vanilla extract and mix. Divide equally into the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden! Easy (:
3. For the icing: Whilst your muffins cook, beat the butter and sifted icing sugar into a bowl, with a wooden spoon. When combined, add in the vanilla extract, milk and colouring. Because I had a liquid based food colouring, my mixture became quite wet which is why I drizzled it on rather than pipe, so if you want yours to look more refined then remember the gel!
4. To assemble: After your cakes have cooled, simply pour the icing over haphazardly. However, if you have a thicker and smoother buttercream then scoop the icing into a star nozzled piping bag and pipe on swirls.
FOR THE CUPCAKES
I had some batter left over from the muffins that I made above, so follow those guidelines and you'll probably get about 3/4 mini fairy cakes worth out of it too.
FOR THE ICING AND DECORATION
- 1 cup hazlenuts
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup butter, unsalted
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Any type of cake toppers. Mine are little stones of crystalised sugar (from Morrisons)
2. In a food proccesor, put in the cooled down nuts and sugar and grind until you have a smooth paste.
3. In a heat prood bowl, melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water and keep stirring until completely melted. Remove from heat, place in the butter, stir. Alternatively, place the chocolate and butter in a bowl and heat it in the microwave in short blasts. Be careful and keep your eye on it though. After this, whisk in the cream, salt and the hazlenut paste.
4. When your cakes are cool (read the how-to for the vanilla & raspberry muffins) spoon over the chocolate/hazlenut spread. Mine are ridiculously messy, because after 3 hours to faffing about I got a bit fed up. Arrange your decorations in little heart shapes.
Option 2 for those who are cut for time, or who are just lazy:
- Nutella/ any other hazlenut spread.
STUFF YOU NEED
- If you followed the proper recipe for the hazlenut spread above then you'll definitely have some left over
- Melted dark chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon of mild chilli powder
- Handful of marshmallows
- Handful of fresh strawberries
- Mini fairy cake cases
2. As you're melting the chocolate (remember to keep an eye on it), cut the rounded bits of a heart into your marshmallows. I used those coconut covered ones that you can get pretty cheaply from the supermarket.
3. When the chocolate has cooled slightly, dip in your marshmallows and your strawberries (and anything else you want to use) into the mix and then place into mini cases. Sprinkle over some edible decorations if you want.
These are three, really easy recipes that you can follow if you don't have a lot of money to spend on your other half. I'm not the best baker as you can see but they taste good and they're a nice little treat! I especially love the chilli-chocolate dip as you can use most things, from all sorts of fruit to those mini pretzel snacks.
They can easily be wrapped as gifts too. Poundland do a lovely little heart shaped box especially for cakes, and you can buy valentines ribbon and wrap set from TK MAXX for £6.99.
Alternatively, there are plently of cute Valentine's printables online that you can download for free.
When it comes to gifts, whether it be for birthday, christmas and everything in between, you can't beat a good hamper. They're my favourite kind of presents, especially when they come in a sweetly wrapped box that hold all your favourite things. So I suppose you could use these as inspiration for any kind of ocassion, this one just happens to be Valentines.
From Left to Right/Top to Bottom
4. & 5. Red Velvet Cupcake in a Jar and Gingerbread Delight Cupcake in a Jar by G Dessert £3.25 each
6. Everyday brew by Teapigs from £1.19 to £9.95
8. Bean & Ground Coffe Box Subscription. £7 per month for 6 months/ £8 per month for 3 months/ £9 per month, monthly.
9. Colonel Mug by Col. Littleton £11.14
From Left To Right/Top to Bottom
Cosy Night In: 1. True Rose Candle by Yankee Candle £6.29
2. The 80s Brat Pack Collection, Amazon £15.99
4. Soft Touch Fleece Throw in Brown, Matalan £10
5. Valentine Mini Chocolate Pizza by The Gourmet Chocolate Pizza Company £3
Breakfast In Bed: 1. Porcelain Double Egg Cup by Whisk Hampers £5.95
2. The Breakfast In Bed Box Breakfast Hamper by Whisk Hampers £28.50
3. Toast Stamp 'Love' by 3 Blonde Bears £4
4. 'I love you' & 'Ditto' Mugs by Sweet William Designs £15.95
5. English Breakfast Tea by Twinnings £2.49 for 50 bags