Mini cakes baked in a tin can!

Crumpet Corner I Mini cake baked in a tin canI love baking and of course eating but my body seems to be making some complaints about eating an entire cake by myself (with a little help from my nephew – how generous!). Then I came across this rather fantastic idea from Oh Happy Day with a method to make a mini three tiered cake! A cake that I can bake and eat myself!

I also love this idea as it starts off as just plain odd, though makes perfect sense really. The first tin I found was a cleaned cat food tin but couldn’t bring myself to use that one so found a baked bean one instead! It is really easy and you get awesome tall little cakes!

Crumpet Corner I Tin cakes miniOne. Firstly find yourself a tin, strip it of its paper clothes and give it a good bath! Grease and flour your clean tin which is now as close to a cake tin as an actual cake tin!
Two. Make some cake batter. I love carrot cake! This is my favourite recipe and I just quartered the recipe to make one mini tin. Make sure you only fill each tin half full as there is a lot of rise. Cook at 180°C for 20 minutes (every oven is different – don’t learn that the hard way – keep an eye on them!)
Three. After the cake has cooled completely tip it out and use a bread knife to cut off the rounded top and then cut into the layers. This is the first time I tried to cut three layers and it is difficult but I reckon with a little practise I will get a little straighter and even. Still stood so no complaints!
Four. I stuck with a cream cheese icing from that recipe earlier and spread it generously on each layer slowly building up the cake. Drop a walnut or two on top and you’re done! I had a little left over mix so made a couple mini cupcakes to compliment.

Pinecone Garland

I love pinecones! There is no doubt about it. I have no idea where my fascination comes from but I love them all the same. Making them into a garland is one of my favourite things to do, and I don’t just leave them up in autumn/winter with colourful yarn they make a great decoration all year round.Pinecone Garland I Crumpet CornerI have tried a couple of methods and found this to be the easiest, cheapest, quickest and well all round best. All you need are pinecones and yarn/string! Simply measure out your coloured yarn or string, I would suggest cutting your piece a fair bit longer than your space as you will loose a little length and you can easily trim it later. Pick out your pinecones and try to make sure they have a good knobbly bit on the bottom (I found about 90% of mine were suitable for this method). Mark on equal distances along your yarn or just use your eye then using the yarn tie a knot around the bottom knob. Viola!

If you are worried about them falling you can always add a blob of hot glue but I found that this is not really necessary and can look a little tacky. This cost me nothing as we had a nice family walk where my nephew was charged with finding me the best pinecones he could and I already had the yarn at home.

If you want something a little extra try adding some glitter to make them shimmer or spray paint your pinecones to match the colours in your room. Make it full of other things or different types of pinecones. There really are no limits!

Wild plum gin with recipe

There have been an awful lot of food post going on. Not that there is anything wrong with food. It’s glorious. A rather great commodity. But home flavoured spirits? Yeah I thought that might get your attention! Plum gin is an awesome present to yourself and taking a mere 3 months could be a fantastic christmas present for that hard to buy/make for person. We all have one, if you don’t, it’s you, you know not our pain!

Plums for gin making

I love picking wild fruit, especially as we have a plum tree in the garden; and I love using it up this way as it takes away the time pressure of it going bad. If you have fruit trees you know the frustration of waiting with nothing and then all so suddenly getting buckets and buckets of fruit. Next year I think I might have to have a plum week to share with you my recipes for the left over plums! Recipes like plum and apple tarts, jam and chutney! For now stew the leftover fruit and pop it in the freezer to use in the less fresh fruity months.

plum gin ready for the cupboardThis is barely a recipe with only three ingredients!Plum gin bottled up

Fruit infused spirits are so simple thing to make I don’t know why I didn’t give it a go sooner. I already mentioned that I love giving these as presents, they are inexpensive but show someone that you have been thinking of them (for at least 3 months!) and suit all those boozy friends I am sure you have! I made a big batch and kept three bottles to myself and then made the other bottle into part of a gin themed gift basket (I’ll post up about that soon!).


Ingredients                          EquipmentPlum gin I Crumpet Corner
OK quality Gin                        Knife & chopping board
150-200g Caster Sugar          2 (1L) Kilner jars (air tight container)
600g Plums                            Bottles and funnel

Optional: add cinnamon sticks, cloves, extra/less sugar to your preference.

The how to bit:
One
.Collect your plums and wash (give a quick check for any rogue maggots) and finally prick them all over with a fork or cut them in half. This helps the juices release into the gin.
Two. Put your sugar and clean pricked/cut plums into the sterilised Kilner jars then top up with gin ensuring that all the fruit is thoroughly covered. This is really important as if there is any fruit poking out it will go mouldy and spoil your whole batch!
Three. Close lid tightly and make sure that it is air sealed! Now shake it! Yep that’s right shake the jar until the sugar has started to dissolve.
Four. Over the next few days whenever you get the chance go and give your jars a shake and after about a week all of the sugar should have dissolved. Put into dark cool space, if you leave in the light you will lose the rich colour. I renamed my cupboard under the stairs as the distillery.
Five. Leave for at least 3 months to allow the gin to get fruity and I would suggest a maximum of a year though it only managed to stick around for about 7 months before I had gobbled the last of it up. Using a funnel strain/pour the now purple gin into your choice of bottle and throw away the plum solids. n.b. I have tried using the gin soaked plums in cooking but I didn’t like how that turned out. Feel free to try to put them to good use and if you come up with anything please comment. I would love to try something.

Tricks:

  • Add a label to your jars with the quantities (gin/plum/sugar ratio) so you can compare and tweak in the future. You can see that I made one with half sugar and added spices while the keeping the other basic.
  • If you don’t have a dark corner (you also probably don’t live in England) you can wrap your jar in thick brown paper to help block out the light
  • Take a sip over month or two and top up on the sugar as you go. I like mine really fruity and sweet so I can sip it over ice!
  • There is no need to be limited to plums, I have post for blackberry and pear gin coming soon!

Sticky Toffee Pudding!

We are lucky today to have a post from another human other than myself! I can verify that these are delicious so thank you to Adam for sharing this recipe with us. Enjoy!STP - Crumpet CornerHello! 🙂

I’d love to be able to say this is a family recipe, but it’s nicked from a cookbook that I shan’t name. We usually have these instead of Christmas Pudding, but really they’ve become a staple for any kind of special occasion where we want to make a fancy pudding.

A word of warning: they contain a TONNE of sugar and cream; Bren was complaining about the amount, it’s ‘bad for you.’ Whatever, slightly bad for the body, but good for the soul.

STP - Crumpet Corner2

The Puddings:
6 fl Oz Boiling water                                                 2 Teaspoons of Coffee Essence (Camp Coffee)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract                                       ¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
6 Oz. chopped stoned dates                                   3 oz. unsalted butter (at room temp)
5 oz. Caster Sugar                                                    6 oz. Self-Raising Flour
2 Beaten Eggs 

The Sauce:
9 Tablespoons Double Cream                                 2 oz Chopped pecan nuts
9 oz. Soft Brown Sugar                                             6 oz. unsalted butter

Start by putting the dates into a bowl and pouring the boiling water over them (they should be just about covered). Add the vanilla extract, coffee extract and bicarbonate of soda, and mix a bit. It should bubble slightly.

Next, cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, then lightly fold in the sifted flour until the mixture is pale light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a bit at a time, whisking all the way. You can then fold in the date mixture until it’s all brown, sweet and delicious. You might be a bit worried the mix is a little sloppy; don’t be, it’s what makes them so light. Put them in whatever oven proof dishes you have to hand; we used eight little ramekin puddings (it’s how we’ve always done it), but you can have one big one and cut and serve after they’re cooked if you prefer.

Put the pudding(s) in an oven preheated to about 180 C for 25 minutes 

While they’re rising in the oven, you can make the sauce! This bit’s dead easy: put all the sauce ingredients into a pan on a low heat, waiting until the butter’s melted a little, then stir gently. It should end up a lovely brown colour. Once the puddings are done, they’re ready to serve. Put the sauce on generously, and if you like add some cream (they’re ridiculously thirsty and will drink the cream, so we tend to drown them). If you want to do something a bit different, put them under the grill with the sauce on for about a minute until the sauce starts to bubble gently; this gives them an almost crispy exterior and adds a bit of crunch.

So there you go, STPs. Enjoy!

An apology: we were going to have a picture of the finished product, but Bren and I nommed them without thinking…