Sunday, 20 March 2016

Eggless Carrot Cake

One of my favorite cakes to bake is carrot cake. I love the moist dense texture of it with the aroma of all spice as you cut through a slice. The cake keeps well and its perfect for afternoon tea, a mid morning snack or to ice and take as a gift.

Eggless cakes tend to have a denser texture,so to ensure an even bake,  I always prefer to bake my carrot cake in a Kugelhopf / Bundt cake tin.  This type of cake tin has a hole in the middle so when you cake is baked it will cook more evenly and it will be in a shape of a ring. To get an even bake it is important to use a good quality solid cake tin that does not buckle in the oven. 

Le Creuset make a lovely Kugelhopf tin which is made from toughened non stick metal . It is solid, fairly robust and heavy and really well made. The non stick coating makes turning out the cake easy.The unique swirl pattern indentations on the cake tin  leaves a lovely pattern on the outside of the cake once it's baked.You can purchase the Le Creuset Kugelhopf pan from House of Fraser or many retailers at an approx  price of  £ 30.00 pounds.
House of Fraser stock some lovely bakeware which you can check out here.

print recipe
Eggless Carrot Cake
Aromatic all spice fragranced carrot cake.
  • 1.25 cups Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Butter (room temperature)
  • 397 g Sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons Warm milk
  • 1 cup Grated carrot
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon All Spice
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C2. Grease a Kugelhof cake tin and keep aside.3. In a large bowl sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and all spice and keep aside4.Whisk together the condensed milk, vanilla, butter and warm milk util light and fluffy. Fold in the flour and stir in the carrots.Do not over mix.5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin and smooth the top of the cake mix, bake the cake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.6. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in tin for a while.7. Turn out the cake on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.8. If you like you can ice cake with a cream cheese topping I prefer to serve my cake plain.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 cake

I was sent the Kugelhopf pan to review by House of Fraser. All the views and opinions are my own about the pan.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Dragon Bunting #Bostikbloggers

Recently I have been crafting with my niece Little M. Last week she came to visit and we made a dragon mask for her Bookday. She really enjoys our crafting sessions, although secretly I think I enjoy them more!! This week she came over again and we enjoyed our smoothie making session, this has become a ritual on her visits as she loves choosing what fruits we can add to our smoothie. Little M wanted to make dragon smoothie, now I am not sure what this would have in it so we made a kale, kiwi and orange smoothie and she drank every last drop of it although the colour did look vibrant!!!!

She couldn't stop talking all about her bookday dragon costume and how exciting it was. Little M also had some more exciting news to tell me, she is going to be a big sister soon and she has been helping her mummy to get things ready for the the baby. Over smoothies and cookies we chatted about more dragons and then Little M and I went for walk to the shops.

There is a lovely little book shop in our local High St and in the window we saw a book all about dragons so we went in and I bought it for Little M. The book is called The Dragon who could not breathe fire.

We also went to the gift shop and it was there that we saw these cute animal buntings and Little M really liked them but they were made from fabric and extortionately expensive. Trying not to dissapoint Little M, I suggested an idea that came to mind about making dragon buntings so yet again another crafting session materialised.

We walked home and after lunch, Little M and I made dragon bunting for her room. I had just had the Bostik craft box sent and there were some craft items like buttons and glue that came in handy and I also had some A4 card sitting around at home. Taking inspiration from her new book we drew a dragon template and set about making the buntings.There was a lot of cutting involved which in hind sight was too difficult for Little M  who is only 5 but she really enjoyed spreading the glue, sticking the pieces together and then sticking the buttons on. Finally Little M threaded the dragons onto a long piece of  ribbon ready for hanging on her bedroom wall. It was really amusing watching her thread the dragons on to the ribbon as  every time she added a dragon on one fell off the other end of the ribbon but finally all eight dragons were on the ribbon,the finished bunting did look cute.

To make the buntings you will need:

1.5 metres of thin ribbon any colour.
A4 card 2 sheets each colour pink, blue
A4 card 3 sheets each colour yellow and green
A4 Stiff white card
Mini Buttons

You can watch the video here to see how to make the buntings.

1. Draw a simple dragon shape on the stiff white card with scalloped bumps on the dragon. Cut out 2 shapes, this is your template. Cut off the scalloped edge off one is the templates so you have one dragon with scallops and one without. The non scalloped dragon should fit on top of the scalloped dragon exactly except the scallops will be missing.
2. Using your two templates cut out 4 scalloped dragons from yellow card and 4 from green card.
3. Using the non scalloped dragon as template cut out 4 dragons on pink card and 4 from blue card.

4. Cut out 4 strips 3cm X 1cm wide from yellow card and also 4 from green card. Hold these in half to make tabs and keep aside.
5. Match up dragons so that you have a yellow scalloped dragon and a dark blue non scalloped and green scalloped and pink non scalloped . You will have eight pairs.
6. Position the tabs at 12 o'clock extending by 1 cm and stick them down on each scalloped dragon.
7. Stick the non scalloped dragons on each scalloped dragon. You will have 8 completed dragons.
8. Draw an eye on each dragon and stick buttons on the dragon to make spots.

9. Thread the dragons onto the ribbons through the taps alternating the colours.
10. Hand your dragon bunting on the wall.

Some of the crafting things used in this post were supplied by Bostik as part of the Bostick bloggers challenge.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Kids Dragon Face Mask #Bostikbloggers

When little M my niece comes to visit she loves dressing up and one of the things she loves is role play. On her recent visit she was telling me that at school they had celebrations for Chinese New year and that the teacher had given them all fortune cookies. She also showed me a dragon puppet she had made. She was telling me for Book day she was going to dress up as a dragon but she was going to be a cute and happy dragon as she does not like fire eating dragons. To go with her outfit we made this dragon mask.

You will need:

Green funky foam 1 A4 sheet
Multicoloured funky foam 1/2 A4 sheet
Scraps of pink and black funky foam
12 inch piece f thin elastic
Single hole punch.

The video below show how to make the mask:

1. Cut out a pear shape our of the green funky foam for the dragons mask. Cut out holes for eyes to peep through.
2. Cut out two ears from the multicoloured foam.
3. Cut out two horns from the pink foam
4. Cut out nostrils, eyebrows, scales from the black foam.
5. Punch a hole or the right nad left side of mask near ears to thread the elastic through.
6. Tie the elastic through the punched holes and secure with double know.
7. Stick the ears, horns,eyebrows,scales and nostrils on the green dragon face.

Some of the craft items used in this post came in my Bostik bloggers March craft box.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Easter Table Napkin Rings #BosticBloggers

At Easter time we like to have a family lunch and we try and set our table with Easter colours and theme. Its just to add a little bit of fun and also it gets the younger member of the family a craft activity to do while the lunch is being prepared. These simple Easter Napkins rings look pretty and very festive.

You will need:

  • Cardboard tube (from kitchen roll or wrapping paper roll)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Yellow paper
  • Silver card
  • Flowers Motifs
  • Pencil ruler
  • Decorative ribbon
  • Ribbon with edging
How to make the Napkin Rings:

1. Mark the tube at 4 cm intervals and cut out as many pieces as you want napkin rings.

2. From the silver card,cut out a strip 4cm wide and long enough to wrap around your tube ring with a 1 cm overlap.

3. From the yellow paper cut out a strip 4cm wide and long enough to wrap around your tube ring with a 1 cm overlap.

4. Stick the yellow paper strip inside the cardboard ring to cover it .
5. Stick the silver card over the cardboard ring and secure the edge well with glue.

6. Stick some decorative ribbon in the centre of the ring 

7. Stick contrasting ribbon or scalloped edge ribbons on both edges of the napkin ring.
8. Finish off your napkin ring by sticking on any flowers or motifs .

9.Roll the napkin up and thread through the centre of the ring and place it on your plate.

This craft is suitable for young children with adult supervision.
I was sent a box of craft items as part of the Bostick bloggers 2016 with Tots 100.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Mini Easter Gift baskets #BostikBloggers

Easter is only 4 weeks away and now is the perfect time to start planning your Easter gifts. I love making home made gifts which are always appreciated more and gives the receiver great pleasure. These easter baskets are fairly easy to make and look great when filled with sweets or home made treats.

These cute and simple baskets are perfect for filling with mini easter eggs, chocolates, cookies or mini cakes too.

You will need:

  • Scissors/ pinking shears
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue / Glue dots
  • Cup cake liner (any colour)
  • Yellow card
  • Green card
  • Ribbon
  • Motifs or flowers for decoration
  • Gifts to fill basket ie mini Easter Eggs or Sweets
  • Shredded tissue paper
You can also watch the video to see how to make these beautiful baskets here:

How to make:

1. Using the pink cupcake liner as a template, place it on the yellow card and draw around it with a pencil.(if you don't have a cupcake liner you can draw the shape free hand as shown in picture.)
2. Extend the bottom edge of the yellow liner by 5mm.
3. Cut out the yellow liner shape as this will be the inside of the basket and it will sit proud by 5 mm from the top rim of pink liner.

4. Make both liners up by securing the flap with glue.(This is the pink basket and the yellow basket)

5. Place the pink liner onto the green card and using a pencil draw a circle around the inside bottom edge .
6.  Draw another circle 5mm bigger than the original circle on the same green card and cut the circle out with decorative scissors or plain scissors. This is the base of the basket.

7. On green card draw a 2 cm strip 30 cm long and cut it out with decorative or plain scissors. This will be the basket handle.
8. Decorate the handle by sticking a contrasting colour ribbon on it.

9. Stick the handle inside the pink basket at opposite sides to each other.
10. Glue the inside edge of the pink basket and stick the yellow basket inside it so that it sits 5mm above the rim of the pink basket.

11. Place a line of glue to the bottom rim of the basket and stick the basket to the green circle base. Hold it firmly till basket sticks to base.
12. Wipe any excess glue off.

13. Decorate the outside of the basket with flowers or motifs if desired.

14. Cut some green tissue paper into straw and fill up basket. Fill basket with Easter gifts such as eggs, chicks, or treats of choice.

I was sent a box of craft items to create an Easter Themed craft for being part of the Bostik Blogger 2016 by Tots100