Victoria Sandwich Cake

Victoria Sandwich CakeIt’s Mother’s Day this Sunday & I’m quite excited as it’s the first one I actually qualify for! Although I’m of the firm opinion that we should appreciate our Mums all year round, I also think it’s nice that we set aside a day to really spoil them rotten. And what’s the best way to do that? With cake of course!

This brilliant ‘back to basics’ recipe for a classic Victoria Sandwich Cake is so simple, it’s perfect for Dads & kids to team up and really put a smile on Mum’s face this weekend.

So, here is what you will need to make an 8″ cake.

(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food.)

For the Sponge

  • 200g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 200g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 4 Eggs, Room Temp
  • 200g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

For the Filling

  • 100g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 140g Icing Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract (Optional)
  • Approx 300g Strawberry Jam
  • Icing Sugar for Dusting

Essential Equipment

  • 2 x 8″ (20cm) Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tins

A little note about the Room Temp instruction. Cake batters work much better when all ingredients are the same temperature. They blend together easier & you’re far less likely to end up with a curdled batter which can create large holes in your finished cake. Plus, it makes it far easier to work with. Simply take your ingredients out the fridge at least an hour or so before you want to use them.

Now, lightly grease the base & sides of your cake tins & line the bases with baking paper.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

Either in an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – add in all the sponge ingredients & mix together until smooth & lump free.

Victoria Sandwich CakeDivide the batter evenly between the two tins & smooth with a spatula. To prevent the cake from doming so much in the middle – put a ‘dip’ in the centre of the batter.

Victoria Sandwich CakePlace in the centre of the preheated oven (preferably on the same shelf) for about 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Victoria Sandwich CakeLeave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Then slide a pallet knife around the sides of each cake to loosen, remove from the tin, peel off the baking paper from the base & leave to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

To make the buttercream filling, place the butter, icing sugar & vanilla extract (if using) into either an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk. Mix slowly to start with (or you may find yourself head first in a mushroom cloud of icing sugar!)

Increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. (At least 3-4 minutes.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically and if you need to loosen the mixture a little – add a splash of milk and continue to mix.

Victoria Sandwich CakeOnce the sponge layers have completely cooled, place one layer onto a cake stand. If you need to, level the top by slicing any domed cake off with a large, sharp knife.

Then smear the buttercream evenly all over the top, right to the edges.

Victoria Sandwich CakeTop with the jam and spread out evenly. Not quite right to the edges, but close. Remember this will squash outwards slightly when you put the top layer on.

Victoria Sandwich CakeWhen you’re happy with that, top with the remaining sponge layer. I like to level any dome and use the bottom side to give a nice flat edge. But it’s entirely up to you.

Place a heaped teaspoon or two of icing sugar into a sieve, then generously sprinkle all over the top of the cake.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.

Victoria Sandwich CakeI told you it was easy! I love the all in one sponge method. It’s so simple & quick that anyone can do it! Yes, even those of you who claim you can’t bake – you can do it too!

So here’s to all you wonderful Mums out there that put up with our dirty washing, our bad tempers and untidy bedrooms, yet still (somehow!) love us unconditionally. You are all incredible and I hope you are showered with appreciation and love this Sunday, because you deserve it.

Until next time my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

Oreo Fudge

White Chocolate Oreo FudgeBlogging, as you can imagine, is very difficult when teamed up with becoming a Mum for the first time. I usually love spending hours in the kitchen making anything and everything that takes my fancy but I just don’t have the time or energy anymore. When I came across this recipe (adapted from Dessert Now Dinner Later) I actually thought it was too good to be true. So much so, I read through the recipe at least 5 times before considering to attempt it! I mean, it takes like 10 minutes (plus chilling time) to make, it only has 3 ingredients & the white chocolate/Oreo combination? One of my all time faves! Seriously, it’s not sorcery, witchcraft or magic – it can be done. (P.S. This would also make a great gift for your Mum on Mother’s Day!)

Here is what you will need to make approx 64 bitesize pieces.

  • 210g Oreos (approx 20)
  • 400g Tin of Condensed Milk
  • 360g White Chocolate

Equipment

  • 8 x 8″ Square Silicone Tin OR 8 x 8″ Square Metal Tin

If you are using a silicone tin, lining is optional. If you are using a metal tin – line the base & sides so you can pull the slab of fudge out when it’s set.

Chop the Oreos into reasonably chunky pieces, or if you are short on time or patience (like me!) blitz them in a processor until chunky crumbs form. Just be careful not to go too small.

Pour the condensed milk into a large saucepan and break in the white chocolate. Gently melt together, stirring constantly, over a low heat until smooth.

White Chocolate Oreo Fudge

White Chocolate Oreo FudgeTake off the heat and add in two thirds of the chopped Oreos. Stir until evenly distributed then quickly pour into the prepared tin.

White Chocolate Oreo FudgeSpread out using a spatula or the back of a spoon, then sprinkle over the remaining Oreos and press into the top.

White Chocolate Oreo FudgeAllow to cool for 15-20 minutes at room temperature, then place in the fridge to chill for about 4 hours or overnight if you have the time.

Once the fudge has completely set, remove from the tin & cut into an 8 by 8 grid to make 64 pieces. (Or however many pieces at whatever size you like.)

This will store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

White Chocolate Oreo FudgeI’m not sure it’s such a good thing that I keep finding all these insanely quick & easy treat recipes lately, but my sweet tooth is definitely very happy about it! I absolutely adore this recipe. It’s ridiculously easy to make & if you haven’t tried white chocolate and Oreos together – where have you been all your life?! You need to get on this NOW!

This is definitely a recipe I will be making again. I might even try it with milk or dark chocolate next time… Mmmmmm!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies, I’m off to eat more of this fudge!

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Tuxedo Cheese & Crackers!

Tuxedo Cheese & CrackersAs many of you will know I am currently heavily pregnant and, as a result, very lazy! This means I don’t have the energy or stamina to be spending forever standing up in the kitchen preparing food. I’m not too happy about this because, as you may have gathered by now, I love being in the kitchen!

So this presented me with a bit of a challenge. I wanted a simple recipe that would look great on your party buffet tables this New Years Eve, but didn’t want to be stood up for ages. Then I saw these over at Cute Food For Kids and knew it was just what I was looking for!

What you will need

  • Pitted Black Olives
  • Any Crackers of your choice
  • Any Soft Cheese Triangles AND/OR Hard Cheese of your choice

Essential Equipment

  • Drinking straw or Small round piping nozzle
  • a Cocktail Stick
  • A small sharp knife or scissors

Firstly, cut the hard cheese into triangles or peel the wrappers off the soft cheese triangles.

Then you just need to sit down at a table with a chopping board, the olives, the items listed in ‘Essential Equipment’ and start carving!

Use either a drinking straw or a small round piping nozzle to cut out little olive ‘buttons,’ (The cocktail stick will be helpful to remove the olive from the straw/nozzle.)

Either using a sharp knife (I used a vegetable carving knife) or some scissors, cut out little triangles to use for the bow ties. I found it easiest to cut each olive into quarters and flatten them first.

Then place the bow ties and buttons on each piece of cheese and serve on crackers to your happy guests!

Tuxedo Cheese & CrackersOk, so they may be a bit fiddly & time consuming but look how cute they are!! At least you can sit down at a table and do the fiddly bit so you’re not on your feet for ages – definitely a winning point for me in my whale like state!

It’s worth the effort just to get great comments from your guests I think. And let’s be honest – you are definitely going to get great comments about these! They really stand out and look super smart for a celebration or party buffet table. A spectacular addition to help see in the new year.

And on that note, I hope you enjoyed the post you fabulous fabulous people!

I wish you all a very happy & prosperous New Year.

See you in 2015!

Miss KitchenMason

A Nutella Lovers Dream!

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNo one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours making Christmas gifts or treats. Want to know a little secret? These incredibly simple, 3 ingredient Nutella truffles will only take you about 10 minutes to make AND they make gorgeous little Christmas gifts!

And how do you reward yourself for your 10 minutes of “back breaking hard work”? A wonderfully indulgent mug of Nutella hot chocolate of course! Oh, and did I mention that both of these sensational delights are naturally vegetarian and gluten free? I know, they’re the gifts that just keep on giving!

Without further ado, here is what you will need to make these beautiful, chocolatey pleasures.

Nutella Truffles

(Makes approx 18-20 – recipe adapted from Urban Bakes.)

  • 180g Nutella
  • 60g Icing Sugar
  • 50g Chopped Roast Hazelnuts

In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a spatula – beat together the Nutella and icing sugar until you can’t see any more white powder.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateRoll into small balls between your palms then roll in chopped hazelnuts to cover. Imagine a spherical 10p coin – that’s the kind of size I went for.

(I honestly wouldn’t make these big as they will be far too sickly – even for the most dedicated Nutella fan!)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolatePlace the truffles on a lined baking sheet, then the next bit is up to you. You can either eat them as they are at room temperature, or you can pop them in the fridge to firm up. My preference is chilled but it’s entirely up to you.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateThen store in an airtight container and consume within a week.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNutella Hot Chocolate

(Serves 2, easily doubled – recipe adapted from Cafe Delites)

  • 600ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • 1 generous tbsp Nutella
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder *
  • 1 tbsp Honey

* Don’t use chocolate drinking powder as this is already sweetened.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Warm through.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateOnce it starts to steam – add in the Nutella, cocoa powder & honey.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateBring the mixture to the boil, stirring frequently with a whisk to ensure all the ingredients blend together nicely.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateDivide between two mugs and, if you like, top with whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips or anything that takes your fancy!

(Bear in mind that marshmallows are typically gluten free but not vegetarian.)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateI told you they were easy!

Even I was surprised with how simple & quick they both are to make. I will remember these truffles the next time I have zero time to sort a gift! Even if the receiver doesn’t like Nutella – you can get tons of different flavoured chocolate spreads now and you could roll them in anything! Grated chocolate, cocoa powder or even desiccated coconut.

Another surprise for me is how easy it is to make your own home made hot chocolate. I mean – wow. It’s SO much nicer than the stuff you buy at the supermarkets! The flavour possibilities are endless too. So long as it will melt, is a liquid or removable (i.e. a bouquet garni) – you can pretty much put it in hot chocolate. I can’t wait to experiment with this!

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies.

From me, the Mr & the bump – I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

All my love, Miss KitchenMason x

Oreo Truffles

Oreo TrufflesI don’t know about you but I always like to make edible gifts for Christmas. I think they’re much more personal & really show that you care. The trouble is, I always seem to spend much longer in the kitchen than I anticipated and most recipes I’ve tried are faffy, fiddly and far too much effort. NOT what you need in the run up to Christmas! As if there’s not enough to do already right?

These gorgeous Oreo Truffles are an absolute godsend! Not only are they really simple, they only take about an hour to make. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for!

Here is what you will need to make approx 20 – 30 truffles. (Dependent on how large you make them.)

  • 1 x 154g Pack of Oreos
  • 225g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 300g White Chocolate
  • Any decoration of your choice (I used sprinkles)

In a food processor, blitz the whole pack of Oreo biscuits (cream filling too) until you’re left with fine crumbs.

Oreo TrufflesThen, preferably in an electric stand mixer, (but you can also just do it by hand in a large bowl) mix together the cream cheese & oreo biscuit crumbs until just combined.

Oreo TrufflesLine a baking sheet with cling film or foil and set to one side.

Roll teaspoon sized chunks of the mixture into balls and place onto the prepared tray. Yes it’s messy but for 10 minutes of dirty hands – it’s totally worth it!

Place the tray into the freezer for 30 minutes for the truffles to harden. This will make it much easier to cover later.

Oreo TrufflesWhen the truffles are chilled, break the white chocolate into a large bowl. Melt gently either in a microwave or set over a pan of barely simmering water.

Now you’re ready for the fun bit!

Get your decorations ready. I used some red and green sprinkles – you could use hundreds and thousands or whatever takes your fancy. Whatever you use, get it ready before you start coating the truffles with chocolate. Because they are so cold having come out the freezer – the chocolate will set pretty quickly so you need to decorate straight away.

Line a baking tray with non stick paper or a silicone baking mat.

Dump a truffle into the melted chocolate and, using a fork, cover in white chocolate before lifting (don’t stab it) & allowing any excess to drain away.

Oreo TrufflesPlace onto the baking tray, then straight away – sprinkle on your decoration. Repeat the process for each truffle until everything is used up.

Oreo TrufflesPop into the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes (it won’t take long) and that is it!

Place into cellophane bags tied with a pretty ribbon or into mini cupcake cases in a Christmas box and (reluctantly) give away to your loved ones.

Store in the fridge & eat within 5 days.

Oreo TrufflesYou could really mix these up if you wanted to. You could use milk chocolate instead of white or you could use golden Oreos instead of original chocolate. You could even melt milk chocolate and decorate over the white chocolate with zig zags instead of using sprinkles. You really can personalise these to whoever you’re planning on giving them to.

They’re delightfully delicious, sensationally moreish, insanely easy to make and you’re totally gona’ make them right? Of course you are!!

Hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Spaghetti Bolognese & SORTEDfood Giveaway!

Spaghetti BologneseSpaghetti bolognese. We all love it but lets be honest, 9 times out of 10 – it comes out of a jar. And I must confess, I’m guilty too. So I went on a mission to find an easy solution, and there was only one place to look, SORTED food!

Over the years they have built up a HUGE recipe archive, a fantastically funny yet informative, step-by-step YouTube channel and even have their own kitchenware! So there was no question they would have an easy peasy & super delicious recipe for spag bol.

Without further ado, here is what you will need to serve 4.

  • 500g Minced Beef
  • Olive Oil, for frying
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 1 Carrot
  • Handful of Mushrooms
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • Squeeze of Tomato Puree
  • 1 Glass of Red Wine
  • 1 x 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 400ml Beef Stock
  • Splash of Milk
  • Splash of Worcester Sauce
  • 400g Spaghetti
  • 80g Parmesan Cheese to serve, Grated

Firstly, prepare your vegetables. Finely dice the onion, celery & carrot. Chop the mushrooms and crush the garlic.

Next, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and  season the beef with salt and pepper. (Before it goes in the pan.)

Add a little olive oil to the pan then fry the mince until browned. Transfer to a bowl and set to one side.

Spaghetti BologneseAdd the onion, celery, carrot & mushrooms to the same pan and fry for a few minutes.

Spaghetti BologneseThen add in the garlic, oregano, tomato puree and red wine. Stir to mix well and simmer for a few minutes to reduce.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti BologneseNext, add in the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, milk and worcester sauce. Return the mince to the pan, season generously with salt & pepper and simmer over a low heat for a minimum of 1 hour – a few is better.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti BologneseWhen you are ready, cook the pasta in generously salted water according to the packet instructions.

Spaghetti BologneseDrain, toss with a little olive oil and season with salt & pepper.

Spaghetti BologneseServe with a big dollop of bolognese and some grated parmesan.

Spaghetti BologneseAnd there you have it! Time, it would seem, does most of the hard work for you in this recipe. It’s not demanding in any way, in fact other than 10 minutes to get it going and cooking pasta at the end, it’s really not that taxing at all! And as for the taste? It’s gorgeous. The red wine adds a deep rich flavour to it and all that (now hidden) veg is great for you and your family! It’s a really good way to get some of the good stuff into those fussy eaters. (Trust me, I was one for years.)

Now, how do you fancy winning yourself some Sorted Food goodies?

I’ve teamed up with Premier Housewares who, alongside the great guys at Sorted Food, have developed a stylish, good quality range of cookware for the aspiring chef!

With everything from aprons to chopping boards, these guys have got all the basics you need for your kitchen.

Among them is a fabulous set of weighing scales…

Sorted FoodAfter using them, the first thing I noticed were that they react much quicker than other digital scales I have used, allowing you to be speedy AND accurate in your kitchen. Also, I like that it doesn’t come with the stereotypical bowl on top. I never use mine as I always just place the bowl or pan I’m using within a recipe on them, creating less pots for me to wash. This way, it also takes up less of your precious cupboard space too, bonus!

Also, a large lidded pan…

Sorted Food

These pans are great. Ceramic coated, aluminium pans that aren’t too heavy or too light – they’re just right. They can be used on all types of hob and have silicone coated handles giving you a good grip!

And lastly, a ‘pop up’ colander & steamer…

Sorted Food

This really is good! It goes completely flat for easy storage & simply pops up when you need to use it. It is great for draining pasta, potatoes or rice & works perfectly as an easy vegetable steamer by simply placing it into a pan, filling with water up to the base of the steamer and hey presto! Pop the lid on the pan – vegetable steamer.

Want to get your greedy mits on all 3 items? Well here’s your chance! The fabulous folks over at Premier Housewares have given me a set worth over £75 for one of you lucky blighters to win!

So, what do you have to do to be in with a chance? It’s simple – just one of the following 3 things:

 

1. Like the KitchenMason & Premier Housewares pages on Facebook then share the photo pinned to the top of my timeline

2. Follow @KitchenMason & @PremierHousewrs on Twitter and retweet the competition tweet on KitchenMason’s Twitter feed with the hashtag #WinSortedKM

Not on social media? No problem!

3. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or WordPress  (on the right hand side of the page) and leave a comment on this post to say you’ve done so.

 

It really is that easy!

Competition is open to UK residents only and closes on Saturday 8th November at 1pm.

The winner will be announced on both Facebook & Twitter afterwards.

Good luck lovelies!

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsAs I promised on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I finally got round to writing up the recipe for this tasty little creature. It’s honestly one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. (and I go out of my way to eat a lot of nice weekend breakfasts!) The best bit is you can use whatever herb you like. Whether it’s fresh or dry, thyme, basil or chives – it’s bound to be an incredibly simple yet fantastically delicious breakfast!

Here is what you will need to make 1 portion. Obviously you can make as many as you like.

  • 2 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme *
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Eggs

Essential Equipment

  • Ramekin

* If you use a dried herb, use 1 tsp. If you are using fresh herbs, use 2 tsp.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Add the butter to the ramekin and, whilst the oven is preheating, pop it in and allow the butter to melt.

Thyme Baked EggsWhen it’s completely melted, remove from the oven and add in the herbs along with some salt & pepper. Mix it together.

Thyme Baked EggsCrack in both eggs, then top with a little more salt & pepper if you like.

Thyme Baked EggsPlace the ramekin onto a baking tray and place into the preheated oven for approx 12 – 15 mins until the white is cooked but the yolks are still a little runny.

If you like, you can serve with buttered ‘soldiers’ (toast cut into slices) or simply have on it’s own for a gluten free option.

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsIt really is that easy! There are so many reasons to make this breakfast. It’s no fuss, it’s cheap and uses whatever you have in your cupboards, the butter stops the ramekin from becoming a cleaning nightmare (as we all know egg can be) and it’s down right bloomin’ delicious! Do I honestly need to give you anymore excuses to try it?

Give it a go next weekend, go on, you know you want to :P

And on that note, I hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies! Until next week.

Miss KitchenMason