Rolo Rocky Road, Salted Caramel Truffles and a New Favourite Blogger!

If you read my Victoria Sponge Cake post, you’ll know that I had a random baking day one day after work. This is part two from that day!

This is a bit of a mixed up post, as it’s me discovering a new favourite blogger as well as my opinion of two recipes. I decided to shove it all together since both recipes would have been short on their own, so apologises in advance for the long post!

When I bake, I always like to make things my family will like. I’ve felt a bit bad for my sister as she hasn’t been too keen on my recent baking, but she’s definitely a fan of both these recipes! The first recipe was a request from my mum, from a recipe she found on Pinterest.

It doesn’t involve lemon or any other sort of fruit that my mum usually likes. Instead, it’s for Rolo Rocky Road.

My holy grail rocky road is Nigella Lawson’s, but I’ve not made it for ages. I’ve only ever tried one other rocky road recipe since I like that one so much. Anyway, I was excited to try a new one, especially one with sweets added!

This recipe comes from Sweetest Menu and it is delicious! I left out the peanuts so that everyone would eat them, and replaced them with a couple of Digestive biscuits. The mixture was a little bit more liquidy than I expected, but it worked well!

What I like about this recipe is the mix of dark and milk chocolate. It’s just enough to get the taste of dark chocolate, but it’s not overpowering. This makes it ideal for those who don’t like dark chocolate. It’s also easy to do. The recipe said to melt the chocolate in the microwave but I couldn’t find a big enough bowl so I used a Bain Marie. While it was melting, I measured out the rest of the ingredients. This was easy and had virtually no mess since I could just zero the electric scales after each ingredient. If you’re looking for something simple and easy, this is definitely a recipe for you!

Here’s a photo! It’s hard to make rocky road look visually appealing, but trust me, it was delicious!

Now, back to Sweetest Menu. It’s run by a woman called Jess and her recipes are inspired by American cuisine. Since I’m nosey, I had a little look about her blog and I’ve fallen in love with so many of the recipes, especially the M&M Candy Cookie Pie! I can’t wait to try more recipes!

I also found a recipe for ‘Easy Salted Caramel Fudge Truffles‘. I’ve been on the lookout for a new truffle recipe, since the ones I tried at Christmas were a flop. Obviously I couldn’t wait six months, so I gave them a try.

The recipe was easy to follow, but it wouldn’t be a recipe made by Ellen without a disaster! I used a bowl that was too small to melt the sugar, condensed milk and butter together and it exploded in the microwave. 10/10 to me! Luckily, most the mixture was still useable, so I poured it into another bowl and continued.

I liked the method of melting them together in the microwave. Boiling sugar and condensed milk scares me which is why I’ve hid away from making fudge in the past, but this was a much simpler way.

I also decided to melt less chocolate to coat the truffles with, as I was worried a lot would be wasted. I used 200g which was still too much. I think even 100g would have been fine.

The coating itself was a bit fiddly, and my truffles weren’t perfectly round since the chocolate pooled around the bottom. Does that even make sense? I think next time I might try putting them on a wire rack so the chocolate drips off more. I’d also leave them to set for a bit longer. They were a bit soft and I think firmer truffles would be easier to coat. Anyway, it didn’t affect the taste of them, and they’re definitely a contender for Christmas! My sister suggested topping them with the little holly decorations that you can buy in the shops to make them look like Christmas puddings, which is definitely a great idea!

The recipe says it makes 18, but we got 26, of varying sizes. I say ‘we’ because my sister jumped in to help with the coating. I think it was really an excuse to lick the bowl!

I’ll spare you photos of mine. If you want to see what they look like, look at Jess’s blog. Her photos are a million times better than anything I could take!

So, that’s my rambling done for just now! Definitely go and look at Jess’s blog. I challenge you to look and not find something you want to make! Also, if anyone has any more recommendations of baking blogs I should follow please let me know! I love finding new blogs to follow!

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National Chocolate Day!

Hey everyone! Happy National Chocolate Day! I sincerely hope you’ve spent the day gouging on chocolate bars, chocolate cake, and whatever else takes your fancy!

In order to properly celebrate a day that is clearly very important (much more important than the World Cup), I wanted to make a post with some chocolatey bakes in it.

I also want to apologise for the poor quality of these photos. Some of them are very, very old and I took them before I even considered posting them anywhere.

Some of these recipes are up on my blog, and I’ve provided links to the posts. Some recipes are coming soon, but if there’s any you want me to post, please let me know!

Marbled Toffee Brownies.

These are by far my most requested item, although I still stand by my statement that they’re not proper brownies! They are delicious though, and that’s the most important thing!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.

These are a Hummingbird Bakery recipe (of course) and they are so easy to make. They’re not as dense as a typical chocolate cupcake. I used to make these all the time!

White Chocolate Cupcakes.

These are an adaptation of the hot chocolate cupcake recipe. I choose to use white hot chocolate powder instead of white chocolate, and they work a treat!

Lemon and Blueberry Blondies.

These are so yummy! Rather than having a white chocolate base, they have loads of white chocolate chips, which are just perfect combined with the fruity blueberry and lemon. These are from Jane’s Patisserie!

Guinness Cake.

This is my dad’s favourite! You may be skeptical about using Guinness in a cake, but trust me, it is amazing! This one has a thin layer of cream cheese frosting which goes with the sponge perfectly.

Chocolate Fudge Cake.

I made this one year for Christmas. If I’m honest, I don’t have a clue where the recipe comes from, but I would definitely be happy to find it!

Salted Caramel Cupcakes.

These have a chocolate sponge cake, but are filled with caramel and topped with salted caramel icing. I made these recently and fell back in love with them!

Chocolate Cupcakes.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a classic chocolate cupcake! I love the contrast of the chocolate against the red cases.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing.

These are one of the most popular posts on my blog! They are also my personal favourite cupcake recipe, so win win!

Easter Chocolate Brownies.

These brownies were delicious! The recipe is from BBC Good Food. It’s basically a classic brownie with Crème eggs and mini eggs baked on top. I made them for the first time this year, and they are great!

Rolo Rocky Road.

This is another recent find, and it’s rekindled my love for rocky road. This comes from Sweetest Menu, but I also love Nigella’s!

Mississippi Mud Cake.

This was the first layer cake I ever made, and it certainly went down well! We managed to get loads of slices from it, but the only problem was transporting it around!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

I haven’t made these in ages! They’re a chocolate sponge cake, and they have chocolate cookies baked into the top and crumbled into the icing! I think I’ll need to try them again soon!

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.

These look a little bit wonky, but I had children helping me make them! They’re pictured alongside Birthday cake ones, which were also yummy!

Cookies and Cream Cake.

I made the mistake of making this on a hot day and it melted everywhere! You can actually see how soft it is at the front. If I was to make this again, I’d have a fiddle about with it because I wasn’t a fan of the mascarpone icing.

Crunchie Cupcake.

This is easily the most aesthetically pleasing cupcake I’ve ever made! It’s a chocolate sponge with honeycomb icing, and it’s also a recipe from Jane’s Patisserie.

Guinness Brownies

These are fresh out the oven! They’re a bit of a funny shape, so goodness knows what I managed to do. They’re very rich!

So, here’s my National Chocolate Day post! So many things I’ve made I haven’t photographed which I’m now very, very annoyed about (I’m talking about you Smoreanne cupcakes and the ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ cake). Let me know what your favourite chocolate recipes are!

My Favourite YouTubers

I must spend about 80% of my free time watching YouTube, which is probably an unhealthy and strange habit. I find it so interesting to see what other people are doing, which is again, probably weird. Only me? Anyway, here are five of my favourite YouTubers to watch at the moment.

Sophdoesnails. I’ve watched Sophie for almost two years now, and it has been amazing to see her grow. She has over 600k subscribers, her own merch and two collaborations with Revolution Beauty. She posts makeup reviews, hauls and vlogs. If you enjoy watching this content, I highly suggest you take a look at her channel!

Lucy Wood. Lucy is a smaller YouTuber, and she has recently been devoting more time to YouTube. She posts a wide variety of videos, but she also covers serious topics such as contraception and smear tests. I find many of her videos inspiring, and I am planning to write a few pieces based on her videos. She’s recently hit 100k subscribers which is so crazy! Definitely take a look at her channel!

Nile Wilson (and his vlog channel Neil and Nile Vlogs). Nile Wilson is a British gymnast who vlogs both his time in the gym and his everyday life. Gymnastics is a major interest of mine, and I find watching his life in the gym so fascinating. His vlogging channel which he runs with his dad is hilarious, and constantly has me in stitches.

Imogenation. This channel is run by Imogen Hudson, and is focused on beauty and lifestyle. She is an advocate of positivity and girls lifting other girls up, which I am a massive fan of. Although she may be a bit full on for some people, her videos cheer me up, and I am in love with her personality.

Lucille. Again, another smaller YouTuber. She’s Scottish, and I mostly enjoy her ‘what I eat in a day’ videos. I find her diet so relatable, and it is refreshing from the uber healthy lifestyle that is usually promoted on social media.

Of course, I watch much more YouTube than this. I wanted to narrow it down to my five favourites at the moment, so here they are! If anyone has any recommendations of who to watch, please let me know. I’ll probably update this later, I can’t imagine I’ll stop watching YouTube anytime soon! Anyway, if anyone needs me, I’ll be curled up watching makeup tutorials and vlogs.

All photos come from their owners’s YouTube channel, apart from Lucy’s, which comes from her blog!

Cheese and Onion Scones

I’m currently going through a phase where I just love bread and carbs. Pitta bread, scones, rolls, you name it and I’ve probably eaten it in the last week. I had a dream I was eating a scone this week and since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about them! I found some onions in my kitchen and as I’m trying to waste less food I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and make some delicious scones.

I’ve made cheese and onion scones since I took Home Economics at school, and they’ve always been a big hit! I have a confession though- every time I’ve made them since, I’ve used a different recipe! I always just Google ‘cheese and onion scones’ and pick one I like the look of!

I should probably stop doing this and use a consistent recipe! This time, I used one from BBC Good Food. I did adapt it a bit, but I’ll link the original in case you’d rather use that.

The amount of scones you can make will depend on the size of the cutter. I made six large ones. The mixture can easily be doubled if you need more though. You could also add your own ingredients to the mixture. The original recipe doesn’t have onions, but I put some in since I like them!

So let’s jump straight onto the recipe!

Cheese and onion scones (adapted from BBC Good Food).

Ingredients

225g self raising flour

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1tsp baking powder

55g unsalted butter

150g cheddar cheese, grated

¼ of a large onion, diced

Roughly 100ml of milk, plus extra for glazing.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and baking powder.

3. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the bowl. Mix with your fingertips to make breadcrumbs.

4. Add the cheese and onion to the bowl and mix with a spoon.

5. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in some of the milk. Do not add it all at once as it may not all be necessary.

6. Tip the mixture onto a clean surface and knead together. Squash to approximately 2cm thick. Cut the scones with a medium cutter and place on the tray. Sprinkle the tops with milk.

7. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes (mine took a bit longer!) or until golden brown and cooked through.

Tips

If you don’t have a cookie cutter, you can use the top of a glass. I used a short whiskey glass to make mine.

If your dough is sticky, lightly flour your work surface before you cut the scones.

Add extra cheese on top, if desired.

Animal Crossing Book Tag!

I feel like I’ve flooded this blog with recipes so I do apologise if you’re not into those posts! I’ve currently been taking advantage of the big kitchen at home to try some new recipes. They’ll definitely be slowing down soon!

I haven’t written about books in a while because I’m saving them all to do an Autumn round up of what I read over the summer. This tag seemed like a good way to talk about my favourite books, which is never a bad thing!

This tag was started by Bookish Things and Tea. I wasn’t tagged by anyone to do it, I just thought it looked fun! All the graphics are from this blog. They were just too cute not to use!

I’ve narrowed it down to two, although there’s probably a lot more! For novels, I would love to read A Little Princess. I’d also like to read Romeo and Juliet.

Again, I have to narrow it down to two. I have a current one and one I loved when I was younger. The more current one is My Soul To Save, which is from the Soul Screamers series, written by Rachel Vincent. You know those books you just get so into? There’s screaming, crying and laughing with the characters? Yeah, that was definitely one of those books for me! I’d definitely recommend them! The other book is The Secrets of Vesuvius by Caroline Lawrence. I was OBSESSED with the Roman Mysteries when I was younger, and I remember this was one of my favourites from the series too. Considering I loved these so much, and I probably read them at about the same time I was playing Animal Crossing, it certainly deserves a shout out!

This one totally stumped me! After a lot of Googling, I’ve decided on The Fault in Our Stars. It’s set in Indianapolis and part of it takes place in Amsterdam, so I figure it fits the criteria! I really enjoyed this book, and I enjoyed a lot of John Green’s novels. So many people have read this so I won’t bore you by delving into the plot, but if you haven’t read it, it’s worth the read.

It has to be My Name is Eleanor Oliphant. I started reading this about the same time as my exams. This probably wasn’t the greatest choice, since the main characters had the same names as the characters in my set text! I really enjoyed this book, although the ending freaked me out a bit!

I haven’t outgrown most of my childhood books, as you can probably tell! The one I have to choose is The Diary of Anne Frank. I read this when I was in primary school and it’s stuck with me ever since. I reread it a few months ago actually. A bit of a strange choice, and it maybe doesn’t count since it’s non fiction but that’s the one that fits the category best.

The best book I’ve read as far as description and characters go is definitely Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I read this in creative writing and it has inspired so much of my writing. Strout’s style is simple and focuses on description, rather than being plot driven. This book is beautiful, and I really recommend it.

I don’t want to type its name! My iPad has just stopped suggesting that I type it and I really don’t want it to start! The book wasn’t bad as such, I was just working on it constantly for about a month and I am sick of it. It even gave me nightmares, which sounds totally ridiculous! It’s not really my genre, but it was easy to follow, and I have to give it credit for presenting a complex topic matter in an easy to read way. So, if you haven’t guessed already, it is of course The Island of Doctor Moreau!

Aw no, I’ve already put my two favourites further up! I do have another book in this genre I love-The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I really love this book, although I definitely read it too young. The book is more descriptive than the film, which made it more upsetting for me, but it was still a good read. If you’re not into reading, I’d definitely recommend the film, but obviously the book is just as good too! I also loved Goodnight Mr Tom when I was younger, but I haven’t read it in years.

I’m not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you want to do this tag, please do! Make sure you tag me, I would love to read your answers!

Daytime ‘Glam’ Makeup Look

Hello! So it’s a bit of a different post today, and one that I’m a bit worried to post! I did say I wanted a variety on my blog, so this definitely fits with that!

Last month, I was lucky enough to see both Ed Sheeran and Wicked. Both were amazing and a great way to wind down from exams. I did a very similar makeup look for both, and I thought I’d share them with you. I love reading posts like this so I wanted to give it a try.

I am aware that I have the makeup skills of a child! I don’t wear makeup very often, in fact, I only really wear it if I’m going on a night out. I do like the way it looks, I just hate doing my eyebrows! They are horrendous in the pictures but trust me, they were so squint on the day! I also don’t like the feeling of full coverage makeup on my skin, so this makeup is a little bit lighter on the base.

I’ve called this look a ‘daytime glam’ because it’s lighter coverage than what I’d wear if I was going out, but you could easily make it nighttime. I think it’s a nice in between, for if you’re ever attending a concert or show!

I’m also trying to use cruelty free cosmetics, but I didn’t realise how many of my products are tested on animals. L’Oréal is the main offender here, and Simple is also a problem. Benefit’s animal testing policy is also a bit fishy. I will not repurchase any of these products, and any recommendations of replacements would be much appreciated!

Here’s how I did this look!

Base

Simple moisturiser.

Revolution Pro Foundation Drops in the shade ‘F1’

Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer in the shade ‘C1’

Collection Pressed Powder in the shade ‘Ivory 18’

Benefit Hoola Bronzer

Benefit Dandelion Blush

Sophdoesnails X Makeup Revolution highlighter palette.

Brows

L’Oréal Brow Artist Shaper in the shade ‘Blonde’

Body Shop Brow and Lash gel.

Eyes

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette.

Sophdoesnails X Makeup Revolution highlighter palette.

• ‘Warm Taupe’ through the crease

• ‘Buon Fresco’ all over the lid.

• ‘Cyprus Umber’ in the outer third of the crease

• ‘Love Letter’ on the outer third of the lid and blended into the crease (I packed it on using my finger and then blended it out with a brush)

• Sophdoesnails X Makeup Revolution highlighter on the rest of the lid (again, I used my finger then blended with a brush)

Lips

Revolution Iconic Matte Lipstick in the shade ‘Chauffeur’

I hope this has been somewhat helpful! Getting the photos for this was a STRUGGLE, but I hope they at least give you an idea of the makeup. Let me know what you think below!

I don’t have the lipstick on for this, it came off when I was eating my tea!

I’m pulling a ridiculous face (as you can probably imagine) but it shows the eye makeup well!

Victoria Sponge Cake

Last week I went on a bit of a baking splurge and tried out some new recipes. I could just put them into one massive post, but instead I’m going to split it into two, and just focus on the two recipes that worked the best!

I thought I’d start with a classic- a Victoria sponge cake. I did have a recipe for one that involved using the weight of the eggs to determine the other quantities, but I haven’t made it in years. I think it’s by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but I’m not 100% certain. So I thought I’d try a new recipe.

This comes from The Great British Book of Baking, which is a recipe book that I barely give any attention to. It’s full of classically British recipes such as shortbread and sticky toffee pudding. There’s a range of sweet and savoury, so it really caters to every need. I’ve only made a couple of things from this book, but my personal mission this summer is to make better use of my recipe books. I have so many books that I’ve only used a handful of times, and I want to change this.

I made a few small amendments, but it shouldn’t have made much difference. I used large eggs instead of medium because I’m so used to buying large ones to bake with. I also assembled the cakes slightly differently, but I’ll tell you about that later.

The batter is also very thick, and I struggled to tell if it was even. The cakes turned out okay though, so it was probably just me. I can’t remember how long it took to bake, but if I had to guess, I’d go with 20 minutes.

Now, onto the assembling. I baked the sponges on Friday afternoon, then assembled them on Saturday morning since it contains fresh cream. I spread two tablespoons of Hartley’s seedless strawberry jam onto each cake. You could use any jam, but I chose this one since I already had some leftover from my Jammy Dodger cupcakes.

I also used all the cream, although in hindsight, it was too much. I was taking the cake over to my gran’s house for a Saturday treat and the journey is only about ten minutes long. I don’t know if I hadn’t whipped the cream enough or if it had been out of the fridge too long but the top half had slid off.

Cue me rushing into my gran’s house, screeching about extra plates and knives. I managed to fix the cream, but unfortunately it mixed with the jam. The cream also oozed out the cake when cut, which also suggests I used too much.

I didn’t actually have a slice myself, which probably means that it’s not fair for me to write a review. The comments from my family were good though. I think I’d try it again, but use less cream in the middle and pipe some on top.

So, here’s the recipe for a Victoria Sponge Cake!

For the sponge:

175g unsalted butter

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

175g self raising flour

1 tbsp whole milk

For the filling:

150ml double or whipping cream

4 rounded tablespoons of good jam

To finish:

A dusting of icing sugar

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees c. Line the bases of the tins with greaseproof paper and grease with butter.

2) Cream together the butter and sugar until very light and creamy.

3) In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and vanilla with a fork. Add gradually to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition.

4) Sieve the flour onto the mixture and add the milk. Fold in with a metal spoon.

5) Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The sponges should be a light golden brown and should bounce back when gently pressed.

6) Run a butter knife around the inside of the tins to loosen the sponges, then turn them out to a wire rack and leave to cool.

7) Whip the cream until it thickens and stands in soft peaks.

8) Set one sponge upside down on the serving plate and spread with cream. Top it with the jam, then sandwich the second sponge on top, the right way up. Press down firmly, then dust with icing sugar.

Tips:

Gently bang the cake pans off the worktop to get rid of any air bubbles.

Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge. Eat within 2 days.

Here’s the finished product after it had been reassembled! Unfortunately I didn’t take any before it fell apart, since my gran’s kitchen is so much better for taking photos in.

From this angle, you can really see that it’s crammed with cream!