Monday, July 1, 2013

Cheat's cinnamon roll ice-cream

A little while ago (oh alright, so it was last summer) a twitter friend mentioned his longing for some cinnamon bun ice cream that isn't available here in Greece. I, of course, immediately googled said ice cream, it sounded divine, so I wondered if I could make my own version. The main ingredients seem to be caramel ice cream and chunks of cinnamon roll.

I decided to give it a go.  You could do the whole thing form scratch, churn your own ice-cream and then make your own cinnamon roll dough and so on, but I wasn't in the mood to make  a whole batch of cinnamon roll dough. So the first thing to do would be to cheat on the cinnamon roll and then buy some nice quality vanilla ice cream.

I got a pack of ready-made croissant dough and before baking them added cinnamon and brown sugar.

Then I took my vanilla ice cream, softened it, then added some shop-bought caramel sauce. Then firmed it up again.

When the croissants were ready and still warm, I chopped them roughly and added them to the ice cream.

Finally to add a little crunch, I crushed some caramel sweets and sprinkled over the top!

So, summing up:
1. Make little cinnamon rolls by adding cinnamon and brown sugar to croissant dough or pizza base dough (Pillsbury for example);
2. Swirl some caramel sauce through your softened ice cream, then firm up again;
3. When the cinnamon rolls are still warm, chop into chunks and mix into ice- cream;
4. Sprinkle over crushed caramels;
5. Scoff the whole lot in one sitting.

The good thing about doing it this way is that it's ready pretty quickly in a few easy steps. You could even make this with plain frozen yoghurt for slightly fewer calories... or not. If you went the whole way and made everything from scratch, it would be a really gourmet dessert, but, to be honest, it's totally unnecessary.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Secret heart cake ― World Baking Day, May 19, 2013

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May 19th is World Baking Day.  The theme is 'Bake brave' or, in other words, try something you haven't tried before.

A week or so ago Vitam, one of the official sponsors, sent me this package with the encouragement to ‘bake brave‘.

To be honest, by the time I've baked the day's cupcakes for the café I don't exactly  have a lot of time or energy left to make something that stretches me to my limits. Having said that, for some time now I've seen pictures circulating on the internet of cakes with  a ‘surprise‘ inside.

I thought it would be kind of cool to give it a go since I haven't done it before. I'm always looking for recipes which are nice for encouraging the kids to get into baking, and something like this, which isn't really difficult but is exciting, is perfect.

The basic trick here is that you first bake a flat cake which has been tinted with colouring or fruit  (I used blueberry jam to tint my cake since I'm not that into artificial colour, although I'm pretty sure you'd get a far brighter contrast if you did use food colouring, such as red, and a nice sharp cutter. My heart cutter was a rather cheap one and the edges weren't as clear-cut as I'd have liked. My metal ones were all too big for the job) in a swiss roll tin/jellyroll pan. When the tray cake is cool, you take your cutter and cut out the heart shapes. Try not to over-bake the tray cake because it is, after all, going to get baked again.

Once your hearts are ready, prepare your cake tin. I used a ring-shaped tin, greased,  but I think a loaf shape would also be really good. There are many such pictures on the net. Make your favourite white cake recipe and put about one third of the batter into the tin. Then place your hearts curvy side down into the pan and top up with the rest of the batter tapping the tin gently to make sure that the cake batter goes all around. Bake as directed.

When you turn it out onto your plate or cake stand and it's cool, cover with some lovely ganache!

I used this basic white cake recipe but you can use any of your favourite recipes. Below is the recipe for the white part only. If you want to use the same recipe for your coloured part of the cake, make an extra half batch for that. 


Wet ingredients
1 cup of milk (room temperature)
6 egg whites (room temperature)
3 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
2¼ cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1¾ sugar

250g Vitam or butter (soft but not melted)


Mix together the egg whites, milk and extracts until just combined. Set aside.
Mix together the dry ingredients in your mixer. Add the vitam or butter and again mix until just combined.
Slowly add the wet ingredients and mix on medium until nicely combined but don't over beat.
Bake at 160°C for 25 to 30 minutes or until springy to  the touch.

Alternative ideas: You could just go the black-and-white route for contrast. Chocolate cake with white hearts or vice-versa. You could also use other cutters easily; I think that a ginger bread man shape would be quite cute, maybe stars, polka dots? If you fancied being more adventurous you could even make multi coloured polka dots...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Salted chocolate popcorn

I saw this post on The Kitchn and had to try it.

The only thing I did differently was make it with an air popper so my version had less fat but it was still incredibly addictive. If you use butter or oil it will be even more delicious.

Try it.  But make sure you have someone to share it with if you don't want to face the fact that you ate it all yourself.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Semolina halva

In store these days we've got individual portions of halva.  They're really popular, partly (I think) due to the fact that they're just enough to satisfy your desire without buying a large portion and then eating more than you wished you had!

We also have slightly larger portioned bowls. Enough for two :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

22nd wedding anniversary cake!

It was our 22nd anniversary the other week. I wasn't feeling terrific that week. Some seriously pulled muscles. I wasn't sure I could even be bothered making a cake for us this year.

In the end I decided to go for a really simple cake. A flourless chocolate cake. I've never done one before but it was really simple. Again, you can google it and find loads of recipes.

The only thing difficult about this cake is waiting for it to refrigerate. There may be over 400 calories per slice in it, but you didn't hear it from me!


For the cake:
350g dark chocolate
170g butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
5 large eggs
200g sugar
60g cocoa powder, sifted
1.5tsp vanilla extract
1/4tsp salt
2tbsp cooled espresso

For the ganache:
100g dark chocolate
100ml cream

The cake:
Lightly butter bottom and sides of a 24cm-round  5cm-deep cake tin and line with baking paper. Dust with cocoa powder.
Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water until melted and smooth. Set aside and cool slightly.
In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and the espresso until pale, frothy and doubled in volume.
When the butter/chocolate mixture is cool enough, reduce the speed on the mixer to the lowest setting and gradually add to it the egg mixture until fully incorporated.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cocoa into the mixture and fold in with a large spoon or spatula.
Transfer to the cake tin you prepared earlier and bake in a preheated oven on 150 degrees for 40 -45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out sticky with small sticky clumps. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
Let it cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack (running a knife around the edges if necessary) and remove the baking paper.
Cool completely, transfer to a cake plate,  cover and chill for 6 hours or overnight.

The ganache:
Heat the cream and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water until smooth and shiny. Pour over the cake. Leave to set.

To cut the cake, heat the knife by putting it in a cup of boiling water for a few seconds and wipe dry before cutting.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sticky toffee pudding hearts

Hands up those who don't like sticky toffee pudding? That's right, I didn't think so.

Last time I mentioned that I'm on a diet. These are definitely not diet food. But I've been meaning to make sticky toffee pudding for a while now and everyone needs a break from their diet now and again, right? At least that's what I told myself when I tucked into one of these.

When I don't have a specific recipe for some traditional dessert, I usually google a few different versions and then I mix and match the elements which I think look the tastiest or simplest out of the recipes I've found. For this, I checked BBC Food, Jamie Oliver (try not to notice the calorie info on that one) and Nigella's recipes and then once I'd grasped the main elements I gave it a go.

I didn't add any extra spices to the mix but that's the amazing thing about sticky toffee pudding, the dates create such an amazing flavour.  If you've never done it before, you might be put off by the appearance of the dates as you prepare them.  They don't look very appetizing but seriously, don't doubt.

I was thinking of a possible dessert for our upcoming anniversary when I made them in heart molds, so I baked them for a few minutes longer than you need to if you're just going to serve it in a baking dish. I wanted to be sure that they'd come out of the mold ok.

I contemplated trying to make these into a cupcake but in the end I decided against it because this is a traditional pudding that should be served warm with whipped cream or even better,  ice-cream.

Fortunately for my diet, I only made a half batch. Not that Alex would have minded if he was forced to eat the rest.  As for our anniversary, I'm not sure how much effort I've got the strength to put in.  I've still got a few days to think about it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Something sweet

It's February. Yikes! Let's just gloss over the fact that we haven't blogged in almost a year! We've been busy and tired. It's hard to explain how exhausting it is running a cupcake café and running a family as well as other obligations. Quite often the last thing we feel like doing is preparing a blog post.  Over the last months I started to write posts but never seemed to get them finished!

It's 2013! We've been open for two whole years and our wedding anniversary is coming up again! Whoops―our last post was for last year's anniversary. We'll try to do better :)

Anyway,  as is common at this time of year, I'm trying to diet. So far it's going well. I'm not the only one of course so in the shop we've had some lower-calorie options for those who want something sweet without too many calories.

One of the things we have is fat-free fruit cake. It's delicious and comes in at about 150 calories a slice. It's filling and perfect with afternoon tea.

Another virtually fat-free thing we have in store are our meringue bites. We have plain ones and a few other flavours at any given time. Cinnamon, ginger, chocolate-chip and espresso to name a few.

They're perfect to eat on their own or like this... It is so light and filling, perfect for a light supper at home.

Or for a light lunch at work.

It looks like I over did it with the honey in these shots but it's just that the honey pooled on one side of the yoghurt.  A few chocolate chips might have accidentally fallen in the pot too.

In these photos we've got 2% strained natural yoghurt, chopped pear, a drizzle of honey and ginger bite-sized meringues. 

Ginger and pear love each other, you know. The meringues add just the right amount of crispiness. If you take them to work, you'll definitely want to add them at the last minute.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

21st wedding anniversary cake!

It's that time of year again and this time I decided to make a super-duper cake. Not that we never get to eat cake or anything. I've been reading Gesine's blog for a long time now. I love the cakes and other goodies she makes. You can tell that so much love goes into them.

It took me a while to decide which cake I was going to be inspired by, well, if you've seen her blog you'll know why; so much deliciousness. I say inspired because I decided to follow the concept more than the actual recipe. Also, if I just say inspired then I can only blame myself if my brilliant ideas for change were not that brilliant. Which turned out to be the case.

Have a look at Gesine's.

I used my own recipes for the different elements. A simple fat-free sponge for the base and top and the chocolate spiral. I used ganache, cream and buttercream, like Gesine does in her recipe. My cake turned out a lot smaller, 6 inches, but that's fine. Just about right for the four of us to have a slice each.

I also cheated a little with the hearts on the side. I used my chocolate mold for those and finally I got Alex to write “Love” on top. I can't write neatly with a pencil never mind frosting!

When we cut the cake it was immediately obvious that 1) I should have put a thicker layer of cream on the rolled up cake, to get a more defined look; after all, the sensational thing about the cake was the upright ‘layers’ and 2) the sponge recipe I used was so spongy, it was difficult to get a clean cut. So, really, if you want it to turn out like Gesine's... follow her recipe!

We had some funny moments where the words ‘cake’ and ‘wrecks’ were mentioned, especially when HE was writing “Love” on the top and then, after I cut it, it didn't have the sharp effect I'd hoped for. Anyway, it was delicious and there's still half a bowl of ganache to eat later on!

Happy anniversary to us!

Liz Cupcakes

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thermometer give―away winners

The six thermometers go to:

1. Panayóta Kotsiopoúlou,
2. Rita Zikídou,
3. “Korina”,
4. “Timos Tetoros”,
5. “Didepux”, and
6. “Natasha” (blog comment entered Feb 15, 2012 01:26 PM)

Olivia helped us pick the winners. It was totally scientific.

Attention all winners: please contact us. Thanks for participating.

Watch out for more give―aways soon!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Liz's Cupcakes & iCandy ― Giveaway

Liz's Cupcakes and iCandy for all your sweet cravings!

For the next ten days we're showcasing an iCandy pram at Liz's Cupcakes! In our window we have an iCandy Peach and lots of baby cupcakes :D Perfect for boys or girls!

Mobo have offered some gifts for our customers which we never say no to! In-store we have a selection of the cutest soft pram toys which we'll be giving out to customers with babies.

We have also got 6 of these digital thermometers (worth €40) to give away.

Leave your details in store, or leave one comment per person, here or on our facebook page for a chance to receive one. Make sure we have a way of contacting you. We'll choose 6 recipients on Feb 16th. (we can only post the thermometers within Greece.

For more information on iCandy in Greece you can pass by or visit them online. iCandy is a British firm making extremely versatile prams. I love the one we have in the shop so much, I keep wanting to play dollies :D

Liz Cupcakes

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One year!

On the 31st of December we celebrated one whole year since we opened doors! Of course those of you who have been following the blog all along know that we actually started planning the whole thing at the end of 2008 and blogging about it at the beginning of 2009.

It took a whole one more month to actually blog about it, but here it is: We'd like to say a HUGE thanks to all of our customers and those who may not have been able to visit in person but have been supporting us all along! You know who you are :) Goes without saying we couldn't keep it up without the continued support from our families. They support us in every way.

This first year has been a true roller-coaster and, even though there were clouds of recession on the horizon when we opened, we didn't know how bad things were going to get for the economy. When we opened, there were so many things we didn't know. We've learned a lot over the last year. We couldn't have opened at a more difficult time but we're so happy to say that we must be doing something right because we're still here.

I could describe this year as exhausting, depressing, worrying, stressful, challenging and nerve-wracking. All of that would be true, but I can also describe it as exciting, exhilarating, fun, and satisfying. I suppose I should just sum it up by saying it has been extremely hard work, but also worthwhile.

I won't deny that it has been a hard year on the kids. It was extremely hard for them to get used to our new routine but now,
even though they get bored from time to time, they really love that we have our cupcake shop and can't wait until they get old enough to help out (apart from shouting 'CU•STO•MERS' as someone walks through the door and also assigning themselves as watchmen who wave at the passengers on the local tourist train that drives by in order to attract their attention, both of which they are doing already...).

In 2012 we want to keep on growing our customer base. We're listening to your cries for us to open in Athens and we're trying to find a way for you to be able to get your cupcakes if you can't get to us. One of the biggest lessons this year was patience. Lots of it!

Thanks again!

Liz Cupcakes