Saturday, 27 September 2014

Fondant Fancies - Cutest Little Teatime Cakes (Recipe) - Made the Easy Way !

Fondant Fancies are great little British retro / vintage style teacakes that commonly grace cake stands that used to be typically served on Sunday afternoons many UK households.

Afternoon tea isn't something most people do these days - it's far more common to go out for afternoon tea as a special treat or to purchase a "tea" at a cafe / restaurant / event.

Saying that - fondant fancies remain as popular and well loved as they have ever been. Most of us tend to buy them in packets these days and they are not a popular choice for home bakers.

Why ? Well - if you watched The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) last year - you'll realise why these pretty little cakes aren't made at home by more bakers..... They're renowned for being tricky little blighters to make.

Doing them my way makes it so so much easier ! 

Mary Berry is one awesome woman and don't forget that GBBO is a competition and a real challenge. I wanted to make fondant fancies and have them turn out perfect - with minimal mess and minimal fuss. If you've ever tried cutting a whole cake into squares and then dipping the mini cakes into gloopy fondant, you'll realise it's a messy, crumby affair and there can be a number of casualties !

Well - none of that here. I made 14 fondant fancies and every single one of them turned out just great.

To make these, you will need 2 x 6 cell silicone cube moulds, a small metal spatula (or flat granny knife), a cooling rack and a massive silicone mat (or a big tray to sit the rack over)

RECIPE - enough to make 12 large fondant fancies.

Cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Beat in the eggs one by one, and then follow by adding the flour and extract.

Line your 2 x 6 cell 2" square cube moulds using two x 2" wide strips of baking parchment which have been lightly greased. This makes it SO easy to get them out later without any damage or loose crumbs and is honestly worth the effort !

Place the two moulds on a baking tray. Split the mix evenly between the 12 cells. Bake at 170 deg C for approx 20 minutes until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool. Once cooled, hold two opposite paper strips and your mini cakes will lift clean out the mould. When paper is removed, they will have lovely straight sides with sharp edges.

Use a serrated knife to remove the top. Pipe on a little blob of butter cream on to the flat top of each cake and then chill for at least 20 mins.

Take 750g of block fondant. You can buy this in any supermarket isle. Often also known as sugar paste, regal ice and others. Supermarket own brand is fine.

Make sure the fondant has been at warm, room temperature. Chop it up into small pieces. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and start to beat with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer. You can also do this by hand - but it takes a bit of effort !

If making these by hand, I'd suggest putting the chopped fondant and water in a glass bowl and sit over some hot water for 10 mins to soften before starting..

Add some more hot water, a tablespoon or so at a time and beat until a smooth, thick, runny, pouring consistency is achieved.

Have a glass of hot water to hand and a flat knife or small spatula.

Place the cakes on the rack over a large silicone work mat or tray (the mat makes for very easy clean up later !)

Pour or spoon the fondant over the cakes. If it does not totally cover the cake, dip the spatula in hot water and then use it to level out the fondant / cover any gaps.

Once done, leave for the fondant to dry before transferring to your cake stand or into paper cases. Our American Jumbo paper cake cases are a perfect size to pop your fondant fancies into !

Hope you find these as easy to make as I did - they're a true delight.

Happy Baking

Sarah-Jane Nash - - September 2014

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - and Brownies !

Love peanut butter cups ? Well - you'll ADORE mine !

Not only are these easy to make, but they knock spots off store bought and look fantastic as part of a chocolate box or on top of cupcakes, brownies etc.

To make approx 45 peanut butter cups, you will need :

150g belgian milk chocolate (preferably couverture)
100g crunchy peanut butter
50g salted butter - at room temperature
100 > 125g of icing (powdered) sugar
200g belgian white chocolate
70mls of double cream (scalded)
coloured sprinkes to decorate

First of all, put the milk chocolate in a plastic bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 30 second bursts, stirring each time. When the chocolate is about 3/4 melted, take out and just keep stirring until it is all melted and you cannot feel it if touching a tiny bit to your upper lip.

The good thing about melting couverture chocolate this way is that as long as the chocolate does not get too warm, it will stay in temper. Out of temper chocolate goes horrible - either 

Use a small paintbrush with non-shedding bristles (kept for kitchen use only) and coat the sides of each cell in chocolate. Allow to start to harden, then make a second coat. Excuse the rubbish photo from my mobile !

After making a second coat of chocolate, place the mould upside down on a cooling rack. This allows the chocolate to settle nicely on the inside and gives a nice even coating.

Once the chocolate starts to set, pop the moulds in the fridge for about 10 mins or so, so the chocolate gets really hard whilst you make the filling.

Put the peanut butter and butter in a bowl and whip until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat some more until thick, but fairly smooth. If it's a bit like rubble, add a tiny amount of boiling water (approx 1 tablespoon will do)

Put into a disposable piping bag, and pipe a little of this mixture to a couple of mm below the top of the cell. You can then seal the top of the chocolates with some more melted milk chocolate, or make the whipped white chocolate ganache....

For the white chocolate ganache, scald the cream in a pot on the stove - or in a bowl in the microwave. Pour the hot cream over the chopped white chocolate. If it doesn't totally melt, pop the bowl of chocolate and scalded cream in the microwave and stir every few seconds until melted.

Take out the microwave and allow to cool for a few minutes, then using a hand held electric whisk, beat until the ganache starts to hold in peaks. It can now be piped on top of your chocolates and decorated with a few sprinkles.

Theses are so cute, they're irresistible.....

So - what can be better, but to pair them with some thick fudgey frosting and seriously delicious, decadent peanut butter cup brownies ? I wouldn't waste the homemade peanut butter cups in the batter though - far easier to use Reese's for baking.

RECIPE - makes 9 large brownies

For this, you need an 8" square silicone pan / mould, lightly buttered.

Pre-heat oven to 180deg C

175g of salted butter
175g of dark chocolate
3 large eggs
300g sugar
2 tsp instant coffee granules
60g cocoa powder
75g plain flour
226g pouch of Reeses Mini Peanut Butter cups - or other candy if preferred

Melt the butter and chocolate together with the coffee granules in a large pot.

Combine eggs and sugar together until just combined. Add into pot and whisk with electric whisk. Add dry ingredients and then whisk again for a short time until combined and no lumps can be seen,

Place the 8" square silicone baking pan on to a tray and use a silicone spatula to scrap the mix into the prepared pan. Pop in the peanut butter cups and press into the batter. Keep the candies 1 > 2cm away from the sides of the mould (as this bit will get trimmed off later)

Bake in middle shelf of the oven for approx 35 mins. The outside should all be set, but it will still be a little wet and have a bit of a wobble in the middle.

Remove and leave to cool, then refrigerate over night before cutting.

When chilled and firm, the brownie will release easily from the silicone pan.

Simply bend the sides down and lift out the brownie.

Place on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, trim the outsides of the brownie off.

Cut remaining brownie into 9 squares.


100g of Sunpat ChocoNut Spread, 75g of butter, icing sugar (quite a lot) and a little hot water - whipped together until a fudge like consistency achieved.

Pipe a swirl on top of each brownie square and top with a homemade peanut butter cup.

Sarah-Jane Nash -