Homemade Funfetti Cake (& my 3rd Blogiversary)

Homemade Funfetti Cake

There aren’t many things that I keep going for longer than 3 years. I’ve only been married for two, just as long as I’ve been teaching, and my hobbies and interests seem to change by the day. (Don’t even get me started on the diet and exercise regime!) But this blog has been a constant for me over the last 3 years. Always there to help me express myself and allow an outlet for my creativity. I really did feel the need to celebrate this year, and what better way is there to celebrate than to make Funfetti?

Homemade Funfetti Cake

I always had my fingers crossed when I went to a fellow 8 year old’s birthday party. Why? No it wasn’t about the piñata or the goodie bags, but rather I wished that the cake would be Funfetti. I really don’t think there’s anything more magical when you’re a kid. How did they get all those specks of the rainbow into that cake? How do they manage to get all that vanilla flavor packed in? Why is it the best cake ever? All these questions and more had plagued 8 year old, just getting interested in cooking, little me. But as I grew older, the traditional birthday parties stopped and so did the endless stream of Funfetti cakes. Soon Funfetti was just a childhood dream.

Homemade Funfetti Cake

When I started this blog, however, Funfetti had made a comeback in a major way. Does anything look prettier on Pinterest? Anyway, living in England, I’ve never been able to find proper rainbow sprinkles and had to make do on what I picked up when visiting the States or that my Mom ships over for me (Thanks Mom!). But with my little blog’s 3rd birthday here, I wondered why I was hoarding sprinkles rather than allowing them to show off. Hello there, Homemade Funfetti Cake…

Homemade Funfetti Cake

This is a great little cake. Not only is it pretty darn simple, it’s pretty darn delicious too! Packed full of moisture because of the greek yogurt, this cake is brimming with vanilla and most importantly: sprinkles! The vanilla buttercream is the most creamy frosting I’ve eve made, and because it uses cream, really does make this a celebration treat. Just a note when making the frosting, be sure your ingredients are room temperature or it may turn out grainy and require extra whipping!Homemade Funfetti Cake

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Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

Some of my favorite treats as a kid were those that had peanut butter. PB & J sandwiches, peanut butter cups, peanut shaped sandwich cookies, peanut butter filled pretzels and the list goes on and on. Not till I moved to England did I realize how much the rest of the world lacks in peanut butter filled products. So eventually my need for peanut butter grew and grew until I just snapped. The search for the Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies was on.

The Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie is different for everyone. I love lots of peanut butter flavor packed in, with a delicate balance of crumb and chew. For me, they must be soft and slightly fluffy with a real sweet and salty hit. So it shouldn’t be too hard to make the perfect peanut butter cookies, should it?

Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

I have made loads of peanut butter cookies before, but these are one of my favorites. I keep going back for the rich peanut butter flavor and the fact that they last a long time if stored well. It’s great when you want to make a little selfish batch to fill the cookie jar for the week!

This is a great recipe because there aren’t too many ingredients and it’s super easy to whip together in a pinch. They actually don’t need too much chilling time (as little as 30 minutes) so they can be in the oven and filling your house with the delicious scent of peanut butter before you know it! It’s got me thinking about making them again now. I even think next time I might add dark chocolate chips… mmmm.Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

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The Best of 2014

Another year over? Time does fly when you’re having fun (and extremely busy moving, taking care of a husband and a puppy, or starting a new job!). This year I gave the blog a new look, tried some more adventurous things and learned so much. Mac and Cheese recipes were a favorite of not only yours, but mine too!
Here are the most popular recipes of 2014, ending with your favorite recipe of the year! What did you lovlies enjoy most? Let me tell you, I really enjoyed looking through the Best of 2014 recipes while writing this post- they are good ones! Here are the Top 10 recipes of 2014…
Huevos Rancheros (Ranch-style Eggs)
Loaded Oreo Cookie Bars
Peanut Butter Blondies
Roasted Tomato Salsa
dark-chocolate-cake
Blueberry Muffins
and your favorite recipe of 2014 is…
This list just makes me smile to remember a year full of kitchen adventures. Here’s to 2015 and another year! I wonder what new recipes it will bring? Happy New Year everyone!

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

I cannot believe that it’s already December. This year seems to have gone even faster than the one before, and it has been just as crazy and fun and, more recently, exhausting. Yet I’ve always found that life is always better when the temperature drops, you’re surrounded by friends and family, and you have a crumble for dessert.

I guess some of you might say this isn’t a crumble, it’s a crisp or maybe even a cobbler, but I guess it depends your geographical loyalties. According to The Kitchn, a cobbler has a biscuit-like topping while the lines between crisps and crumbles are more blurred. Some purists may say that if the topping has oats in it, it’s a crisp, but I like oats, and I call this a crumble.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

This Apple and Blackberry Crumble is perfectly suited for chilly winter nights. Warm, cinnamon scented apples and juicy blackberries topped with with a crispy, crunchy streusel topping makes the perfect combination of calm inducing comfort and full on flavor. The best part: smothering it all with warm, vanilla speckled custard. This dessert is reason enough to gladly wave goodbye to the summer months. Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Doesn’t that look good? Just try not to have it all in one sitting. Continue reading

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Years ago, in the midst of the Autumn holiday season, my mom used to always buy a box of puffy, cake-like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies from the supermarket bakery close to our house. I still remember the first time I tried one. I hated it. I thought it was weird. I didn’t even finish it! But our tastebuds are strange things, as the next day I found myself wanting to try this innovative fusion of pumpkin pie and chocolate chip cookie again. The second experience was a much better one, as I embraced the interesting texture that the pumpkin creates and the dark chocolate chips dotted throughout that gave a great richness and childhood familiarity. Nowadays, we eat pumpkin everything, so pumpkin cookies are far from the wacky idea I once thought they were.

These bars are everything great about a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and improved by being baked into squidgy, moist bars rather than puffy, cake-like cookies. They’re also great because they’re not too sweet, which means you can eat more than one without getting a toothache! I always love a recipe that improves with age, like these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, because the next day they are even better than they are are freshly baked. Just be sure to keep in an airtight container! I think I might go grab one now…
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

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Classic French Toast

Classic French Toast

Hello everyone! Today is a great day for so many reasons: it’s the first day of my half term holiday (I get a whole week off from work!), the hubby and I leave for Riga, Latvia in two days and this is my 100th blog post! Yippee!100th PostWhat better way to celebrate than with my favorite meal of the day? That’s right folks, you know I can’t resist making a delicious homemade breakfast to mark a special occasion! I love French Toast, especially this Classic French Toast because it’s so darn simple. All you need to do is whisk up some eggs and milk, dip in some Brioche or French bread, fry in some butter and voila! Breakfast is served.

This French toast is great because there’s plenty of custard (the egg and milk mixture) to make sure that the bread is completely soaked. There’s nothing worse than having French toast which hasn’t been allowed enough time to soak up the vanilla and cinnamon scented custard! Also, you can throw it together incredibly quickly! The whole process can take no more than 20 minutes. Don’t you just love the sound of it already?

I love to eat this Classic French Toast with fresh fruit and lashings of maple syrup. There really is no better way to start a special day! Any way, I’ve got to get packing and ready to take lots and lots of photos of our trip to Latvia! Have a lovely weekend! xxx

Classic French Toast

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Beef Wellington Tarts

Beef Wellington TartsBeef Wellington is a traditional English dish that consists of a beef filet smothered in mushroom duxelles and foie gras pate and wrapped in pastry, then baked until golden and rare in the middle. If you ever watch any of the Gordon Ramsay shows it’s a dish you would know well, as it’s so easily destroyed by contestants trying to win the next big chef prize thing. So you see this dish a lot on menus in traditional fancy restaurants with a high price tag to match!

But sometimes you just don’t want to go out for dinner. Every so often I like to have a nice meal in the comfort of our own home. So I wanted to make something special for my husband for date night, and while this is such a ‘wow’ dish, it’s actually quite simple to make. Beef, mushrooms, foie gras, thyme, puff pastry. Simple ingredients that come together to make something unbelievably delicious. Slices of rare filet atop white wine mushrooms and fois gras, all laying on a bed of puffy, buttery pastry. Let’s just say, it was gobbled up happily and washed down with a gorgeous red Cotes du Rhone. Looking for a way to fancy up your Friday night? These Beef Wellington Tarts will make you feel like you’re at a top restaurant, without the hefty bill at the end!

Beef Wellington Tarts*Now I know the ethical issues with foie gras, so please feel free to use chicken liver or mushroom pate instead.  Continue reading