Friday, 21 August 2015

Have I been busy?

Welcome to my new title of 'Brilliant Becca Bakes.' How is it on people phones now? Don't worry I won't be changing my title anymore. I might change the link, but I will tell you next time. So you can easy find my blog.

It wasn't intentional that ever since I landed in the UK after my wonderful time in USA I have been making cakes or cookies. There are so yummy and delicious.

All I wanted to do on Monday was to catch up with my great friends Tia and Lawrence. You know where you have tea or coffee or for Tia's case she would have hot cocoa. Then you have to have a bit of cake. Right? So let's make cookies and cakes.

That is exactly what we did. With lots of laughter involved, and talking about random things plus eating the delicious things that just come out of the oven.

Black forest cookies

These delicious (to assure you this word is not my favorite word, honestly) chewy cookies are totally irresistible-so they won't last won't last long. The name 'black forest' traditionally refers to a mix of chocolate and cherries, and there are packed full of both.

Lawrence's creation with marshmallows and cherries in the middle


Vegetable oil or butter for greasing
80g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract 
165g plain flour
35g cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
90g glace cherries, halved
60g dark chocolate grated


Two large baking parchment
Two large baking trays


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5. Grease two large baking sheets and line with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the the beaten egg, and vanilla extract and beat into the mixture.
  4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and beat in well.
  5. Now add the the cherries and grated chocolate (just mind you fingers) and stir into the mixture until evenly distributed.
  6. Form balls of mixture roughly the size of a golf bowl and place on the baking parchment, well spaced apart. The mixture will be really sticky, so before handling the dough, briefly run your hands under the cold water tap so they are damp, and then the mixture won't stick to them.
  7. You could always put marshmallows on top or even cherries. If you fancied. 
  8. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes until they are crispy at the top and edges and the chocolate have melted. When you remove them from the oven, they will still be soft. Leave on the sheets for around 20 minutes to firm up before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. Can you wait 20 minutes before eating them? We couldn't.
  9. Store in an airtight container and eat within 7 days. Once cool, these cookies can be frozen in sealed freezer bags for up to 3 months.
This recipes makes 12-16 cookies.

Black bottom cupcakes

Why choose between chocolate and coffee when you have both? These two-tone cupcakes look great. And with different flavors top and bottom, they definitely taste twice as nice!


250g butter,softened
250g caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour
1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp espresso powder


Muffin or fairy cake tray (s)
Paper cases


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C Fan/Gas Mark 5. Line your muffin or fairy cake tray with the appropriately sized paper cases.
  2. In a large mixing bowl. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 
  3. Add the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time. Beat well after every addition.
  4. When all the egg has been added, sift in the flour and gently fold into the mixture.
  5. Now, take a second mixing bowl and transfer half the mixture into it, ensuring the batter is divided evenly between the two.
  6. Sift the cocoa powder into one of the bowls. Gently fold in until it is well mixed through. Add the espresso powder to the other bowl of mixture and again, mix in gently and evenly. 
  7. Now spoon the two mixture into the cake cases, starting with the chocolate mixture and dividing it evenly among the cakes. Then add a smaller spoonful of the the espresso mixture on top, again dividing this evenly among the cake cases.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes for muffins and 16-18 minutes for fairy cakes, until they are risen and the sponge springs back when pressed lightly with your finger. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack
  9. Store in an airtight container and eat within 3-5 days. Once cool, can be frozen n sealed freezer bags for up 3 months.
I don't think I need to tell you how much this recipes makes as you could count how much there are in the picture? So what is the answer? You got the answer right! If you said 12. Well done you deserve a cake.

Homemade jam

Make the most of fruit gluts and try to make make your own jam. Especially when you can go blackberry picking, I did some blackberry picking at my grandparents house. It can't be fresh than that. Homemade jam is so delicious on homemade bread or even scones. How about Victoria sponge cake? 


651g blackberries 
651g granulated sugar
knob of butter


  1. Put the fruit into a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan. For blackberries, add 50ml of water and 1½ tbsp of lemon juice;  Bring to the boil.
  2. Lower the heat. For blackberries, simmer for 15 minutes. The fruit should be soft.
  3. Tip in the sugar, stir over a very low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Raise the heat, bring to a full rolling boil, then rapidly boil blackberries for 10-12 minutes,  don’t stir though – until the setting point of 105C is reached.
  4. Remove from the heat, skim off any excess scum, then stir a knob of butter across the surface (this helps to dissolve any remaining scum). Leave for about 15 mins so the fruit can settle. Pour into sterilized jars, label and seal.
This recipe makes three of those jars in the picture and a half of a normal one. 

Snake in a hole

This dish is a bit of fun-it's the kind of recipe that makes the kids laugh, and ultimately we're all big kids at heart Don't be mistaken by appearances, it's super delicious and I know you folks are going to make it and love it. It's a cross between a roasted meatloaf and meatball, surrounded by our favorite Yorkshire pudding that cooks up around it and, if that's not enough, it;s finished with a kiss of sweet onion gravy. 


120g plain flour
2 large eggs
100ml semi-skimmed milk
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 slices of stale bread
500g minced beef
1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 sweet potato
Olive oil
2 red onions
1 beef stock cube
Balsamic vinegar


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Put 100g of flour into a jug with a pinch of salt, whisk in the eggs, then gradually add the milk until you have a smooth batter, and put aside. Pick the rosemary leaves and put half into a food processor, then blitz with the bread to make breadcrumbs. Add the beef, a pinch of salt and pepper, add the mustard. Peel and coarsely grate in the sweet potato (this will keep the meatloaf really juicy) and pulse until combined. Shape into the a snake about 4 cm thick (be as realistic as you like) drizzle with a lug of oil and rub it all over. Place in an extra-large oiled roasting tray. (roughly 30 cm X 35 cm) Roast for 20 minutes)

Meanwhile, to make the gravy, peel and slice the onions and put them into a pan on a medium heat with a lug of oil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. Once soft, stir in the remaining flour , crumble in the stock cube and pour 500 ml of water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until you're happy with the consistency. Season to perfection, add a splash of balsamic, to taste and keep warm. If you want mashed potato then peel them but them in the pan with boiling water with the lid until there taste right to you or until you can stick in a fork. Then drain the water out, put a dash of milk if you like. I think it is easier to mash the potato with a bit of milk. Oh and put some butter in as it makes the potato more fluffy. 

When the time's up on the oven, slide out the snake tray, scatter in the remaining rosemary leaves and quickly and carefully pour in the batter. Return to the oven for around 25 minutes, or until the Yorkshire is golden and puffed up-don't be temped to open the oven while it's cooking. Serve the tray in the middle of the table, pour the gravy around the snake and serve with a pot of mustard and steamed seasonal greens or big bowl of peas on the side.

The recipe for snake in the hole should serve 4-6 people. Or two hungry adults it was so tasty. 

Mom and Dad don't get used to me making cakes and cookies every week. Though you might get more homemade jam, it's so easy to make and more healthier for you. Please let me know if you are going to make any of things I mentioned on this post or other post I did. By using the comments downstairs. 

So do you think I have been busy this week? I think I have. 

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