Valentine’s Day Strawberry and Chocolate Heart Cakes

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If you’re looking for an extra special treat to make for your special someone this Valentine’s Day, then these cute heart shaped cakes may be just what you need to bake. Especially if they love both chocolate and strawberry.  I wanted to make a layered cake in these flavours for Valentine’s Day, and decided that it would be really fun and fitting for the occasion if I made the whole thing heart shaped. As I have a heart shaped biscuit cutter, the idea of making small separate heart shaped cakes was born. They consist of layers of chocolate sponge and strawberry flavored frosting, that has been encased in a shell of milk chocolate. I used a square 7 x 7 inch baking tin, and was able to make a total of 6 cakes from my recipe. These are actually something that came up with for Valentine’s Day last year, as some of you may have seen in pictures on my Instagram back then.

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Ingredients

For the Cake Sponge:

  • 150g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • Small pinch of Salt
  • 125g Caster or Granulated Sugar
  • 7 tbsp Corn or Sunflower Oil
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Flavouring

For the Frosting:

  • 125g Unsalted Butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 300g Icing Sugar
  • 50g Cream Cheese
  • 1 – 2 tsp Strawberry Flavouring (adjust amount to suit taste)
  • Red Gel Food Colouring

For the Decoration:

  • 300g Milk Chocolate
  • 3 Fresh Strawberries

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Method

For the Cake Sponges:

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C or Gas Mark 4.

2) Sift the flour into a bowl and add to it the baking powder, salt, cocoa powder and sugar. Fold it together evenly.

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3) In a separate bowl, add the oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk everything together.

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4) Gradually add the dry mixture to the liquid mixture and beat together until everything is evenly mixed.

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5) Take your baking tin (I used a square 7 x 7 inch baking tin) and gently grease the bottom and sides with butter. Cut a strip of baking paper so that it is the same width as the tin, but a bit longer than it. This is so that you can fold it up and around 2 of the sides of the tin. This will help us when we come to remove the cake from the tin.

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6) Take your cake mixture and evenly spread just a layer of it over the bottom of the tin, making sure you get into the corners. The layer should be no thicker than about 1cm.

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7) Place the tin near the middle-top half of the oven for around 10 minutes. After, turn the tin around and leave it for a further 5 minutes.

8) Remove it from the oven and leave it to cool for a few minutes as the cake will be softer while it is hot. Use a pallet knife along the 2 sides of the tin where the baking paper does not cover the sides to gently make sure the cake is not stuck to the tin. Then using the excess sides of the baking paper as if they were handles, gently lift the cake out of the tin and leave it to cool fully on a wire rack.

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9) Repeat steps 5 – 8 at least 2 more times in order to make a total of 3 very thin square chocolate sponge cakes.

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10) When all the cake is fully cooled, take one of the cake squares and place it down flat on your work surface. Take a heart shaped biscuit/cookie cutter and use it to cut out 6 heart shapes. Gently peel the heart shapes from the baking paper and keep them to one side, but not stacked on top of each other. Any off-cuts of sponge can be put into a tub to enjoy with any left over frosting and melted chocolate that you may have left over at the end.

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11) Repeat step 10 with the other 2 squares of cake sponge. You should end up with a total of 18 heart shaped chocolate cake slices.

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For the Frosting:

1) Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the cream cheese. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add to the bowl as well.

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2) Cream everything together fully into a paste using a fork.

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3) Add some red gel colouring and the strawberry flavouring. Make sure you mix it in evenly. Repeat this if required until you get a nice deep pink colour that you like. You could also opt for making the frosting red if you prefer.

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4) Take 3 of your cake hearts. Gently spread a layer of the frosting onto just 2 of these so that the top of them are covered fully. Make it a similar thickness to that of the sponge. Then stack the 3 hearts on top of each other so that the one you did not spread frosting on to is at the top. Put this to one side.

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5) Repeat step 4 for the remaining cake hearts. You should be left with a total of 6 cakes made up of 3 layers of sponge and 2 layers of frosting.

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6) Next take one of the cakes and gently go around the sides where you can see the frosting, spreading it with more frosting. The aim is to fill in any gaps that there may be as we need a flat surface for the chocolate to cover. Then gently scrape around the sides of the cake with a palette knife in order to remove any excess and to smooth out the sides.

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7) Repeat step 6 with the remaining cakes. Your cakes are now ready to be coated and decorated.

 

For the Decoration:

1) Wash your strawberries and use a knife to cut a ‘V’ shape in the top at the sides of the stem. Pull on the stem to remove and discard it. You want to then cut the strawberries in half so that you can see the ‘V’ shape still in the top of each half of strawberry. This will make them look a little bit like heart shapes. Keep these to one side.

2) Next, break up the chocolate and put it in a mixing bowl, place the bowl over a saucepan of water on the hob. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil so that the chocolate starts to melt. Once it is boiling, bring it down to a simmer so that the chocolate does not burn. Stir the chocolate to help it melt. Once the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat.

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3) Meanwhile, take a mixing bowl and rest a wire rack over the top of it. Place one of the cakes on top of the wire rack. Also take a tray big enough to hold all 6 cakes, and place a sheet of baking paper that is the same size on top of it.

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4) Carefully spoon the melted chocolate on top of the cake over the bowl and let it run over and drip down the sides until it is covered fully. You may want to use the back of the spoon to help spread it around.

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5) Place one half of a strawberry on top of the middle of cake so that the ‘V’ we cut is at the top. Let it have a couple of minutes to let any excess melted chocolate drip off into the bowl below.

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6) Then carefully move the cake over to the parchment paper on the tray we set up earlier. I found the easiest way to do this was by putting 2 forks underneath it at either end and lifting it that way. If you find some of the chocolate gets smeared off whilst moving it, you can patch this up by dipping the back of a spoon in the chocolate and smearing it across the problem areas.

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7) Now repeat steps 4 – 6 for the remaining 5 cakes. If the chocolate starts to become too thick, then simply pop it back onto the saucepan on the hob and heat it back up a little bit to melt it again.

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8) Once they have all been covered and decorated with a strawberry, you can move the tray over to the fridge to let the chocolate harden off. Leave them there until it is time to serve them. You may find some of the strawberry juice runs out and down the sides of the cake, but it will not affect the cakes. Due to the fresh fruit, you will want to eat them within a day or so of making them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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Wedding Favour Heart Biscuits Recipe

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A friend of mine asked me to make some biscuits to use as favours for her wedding, and these are what I made. I used white chocolate coloured in a mint shade to match her colour scheme. Sorry in advance for the bad lighting in some of the photographs. I was short on time so a lot of the work was done whilst it was dark outside. We don’t get much daylight here during the winter months when compared to the summer. So back when I made these it was dark outside when I left for work and dark outside when I come home from work.

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Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter allowed to reach room temperature
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or other flavouring of your choice
  • Gel food colouring in colour of your choice
  • 200g white chocolate
  • Decorating glimmer sugar sprinkles or other decorating sprinkles of your choice

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Method

1. Start by weighing out your sugar and adding it to a bowl.

2. Then weigh out your butter. Cut it into cubes and add to the bowl.

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3. Add your vanilla essence and cream the butter and sugar together fully with a fork.

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4. Weigh out the flour and sieve it into the bowl.

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5. Add a pinch of salt and fold everything together into a dough using your hands.

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6. Put the dough into the fridge to chill for 30 mins.

7. Dust your work surface with flour and remove the dough from the fridge.

8. Start to preheat your oven on gas mark 5 and grease a baking tray with butter.

9. Roll out the dough to just under 1cm thick and use a heart shaped cutter to cut out the biscuit shapes.

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10. Remove the excess dough and put it to one side to reuse later.

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11. Carefully move the biscuits over to the baking tray, making sure that there is room for any expansion in between.

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12. I placed them in the over near the higher side of the middle of the oven for 10 mins.

13. After I turned the tray around and left them for a further 5 mins.

14. Once cooked, I removed them from the oven and carefully removed them from the tray and left to cool. Don’t worry if they seem a bit soft as they will harden as they cool.

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15. Repeat steps 9 – 15 in order to use up the remaining dough.

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16. Afterwards melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on the hob. Remove from the saucepan once melted.

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17. Immediately add a little of your gel food colouring to the melted chocolate and mix well. Use sparingly, but add more if required and mix fully.

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18.Using the back of a tea spoon, spread the melted chocolate onto one half of a diamond shaped biscuit.

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19. Then sprinkle your sprinkles over the chocolate half of the biscuit. Use a small plate to catch any excess and turn your biscuit upside down and give it a gentle shake to let the excess fall off.

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20. Repeat steps 18 – 19 for the remainder of your biscuits.

21. Gently move your biscuits into the fridge and leave them until the chocolate has set. Be careful not to let them touch each other while in the fridge. Afterwards you can transfer them into your favour wrapping/packaging. I used little clear cellophane bags with gold twist ties on top as shown below.

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Valentine’s Heart Drag Marble Nails

I’ve seen a lot of examples of heart drag marble nails floating around on the internet and decided that I wanted to give it a try for Valentine’s Day this year. However, I don’t think it came out as good as it could have. I think I had pressed down a bit too hard while dragging through the dots. You have to work quickly with this kind of design as it works best while everything is still wet.

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I started by painting the thumb and ring finger nails in one coat of a light brown shimmery shade.

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On the rest of the fingers, I used 2 coats of a deep dark red shade. Onto these red nails, I also added one light pink heart shaped rhinestone onto each.

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On the thumb and ring fingers, doing one nail at a time, I painted another layer of the light brown. While it was still wet, I used the red and the largest dotting tool that I have to add 3 dots going down the length of the nail.

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Before anything had chance to dry, I took a very thin brush and dragged a straight line from just above the dot at the top, straight down through the middle of each dot and stopped at the tip of the nail. If done correctly, you should see that it has made heart type shapes. I actually used a thin nail art brush to touch up my design a little, as the hearts were a bit ‘flat’ on the sides in places.

Valentine Heart Biscuits Recipe

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These biscuits were what me and my husband made together for fun for Valentine’s Day last year. I wasn’t really planning on making a blog post out of them at the time and so I didn’t really take many good quality photos of the decorating stages. Plus we decorated them at night which meant the lighting was bad in any photographs I took of the finished biscuits. However as Valentines Day is coming up again I decided to share them with you to help give people some inspiration. You can decorate these biscuits in any way you like, and the possibilities are endless. For ours we used rolled out icing in different colours, added some writing icing and a few random cake decorating sprinkles.

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Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter allowed to reach room temperature
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or other flavouring of your choice
  • Gel food colouring in colours of your choice. We used lilac, green and a small amount of red to make pink
  • Medium sized packet of white roll out icing (a 500g packet should be more than enough)
  • Various coloured tubes of writing icing. We used some glitter writing icing tubes from our local supermarket
  • Various baking decorations and other decorating sprinkles of your choice
  • Icing sugar (for dusting only)

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Method

For the Biscuits:

1. Start by weighing out your sugar and adding it to a bowl.

2. Then weigh out your butter. Cut it into cubes and add to the bowl.

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3. Add your vanilla essence and cream the butter and sugar together fully with a fork.

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4. Weigh out the flour and sieve it into the bowl.

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5. Add a pinch of salt and fold everything together into a dough using your hands.

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6. Put the dough into the fridge to chill for 30 mins.

7. Dust your work surface with flour and remove the dough from the fridge.

8. Start to preheat your oven on gas mark 5 and grease a baking tray with butter.

9. Roll out the dough to just under 1cm thick and use a heart shaped cutter to cut out the biscuit shapes.

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10. Remove the excess dough and put it to one side to reuse later.

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11. Carefully move the biscuits over to the baking tray, making sure that there is room for any expansion in between.

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12. I placed them in the over near the higher side of the middle of the oven for 10 mins.

13. After I turned the tray around and left them for a further 5 mins.

14. Once cooked, I removed them from the oven and carefully removed them from the tray and left to cool. Don’t worry if they seem a bit soft as they will harden as they cool.

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15. Repeat steps 9 – 15 in order to use up the remaining dough.

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For the Decoration:

1. We started by taking sections of the roll out icing and kneading it to get it pliable. Then we used a little gel food colouring and kneaded this into the icing fully to colour it to the colours of our choice. This was repeated with the other colours so we was left with different sized balls of different coloured icing.

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2. Next dust your work surface with some icing sugar and roll out one of your balls of icing into a layer that is a few mm thick. Use the same heart cutter you used for the biscuits to cut out heart shapes. Repeat this with the other colours until you have one heart of icing per biscuit. My husband made a few multicolored icing hearts by placing a few blobs of different coloured icing next to each other and then rolling them out. He also made a marbled effect for some by kneading a few colours together very briefly so that they were mixed together, but not enough for the colours to blend together.

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3. Place the icing hearts onto your biscuits. You might need to use a tiny bit of water on the back of the icing to get it to stick to the biscuit. Alternatively you could use some of your writing icing as if it were glue. As the biscuits expand in the oven, there will be a nice border of biscuit showing around the icing. For some biscuits we did not cover them with an entire heart of icing. Instead we cut the icing hearts in different ways to cover only certain parts of the biscuits.

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4. All that is left to do now is to decorate on top of the icing on your biscuits in any which way you like. The possibilities are endless so just have fun! The below list is a few ideas of different things that we did to ours.

  • We used writing icing to draw lines and patterns on our biscuits.
  • We used writing icing like glue to stick many different sugar decorations onto our biscuits.
  • We used the roll out icing in different colours to make and mold different shapes such as flowers and leaves.
  • We used a table knife to make indent lines in the icing to make a quilted like effect.

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Popping Valentine’s Heart Chocolates

This is the perfect idea for someone who wants to make their better half something personalised for Valentine’s Day, but who doesn’t really have much surplus time to spend.

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Supplies

  • 200g bar of milk chocolate
  • 200g bar of white chocolate
  • Small tub of edible gold food shimmer/glitter
  • Tub of popping candy
  • Small foil heart shaped chocolate cases
  • Silicone mould for making chocolates in heart shapes

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Instructions
1) Lay out your chocolate cases onto a tray and your silicone mould onto another. Having them on a tray makes them easier to transport before they are set.

2) Take the edible shimmer and a small clean brush. Use the brush to coat the inside of the silicone mould with the edible shimmer.

3) Take 2 saucepans of water with a heatproof bowl over the top of each. Make sure the water level is low enough to not touch the bottom of the bowl. Put them on full heat and break up the milk chocolate into one of the bowls and the white chocolate into the other. Stir them until melted fully, making sure not to burn the chocolate.

4) Remove them both from the heat and quickly stir in plenty of the popping candy into each. Try not to over stir it as you will loose some of the popping as you stir.

The rest of the instructions are pretty flexible, so I will just discuss what I did and then you can decide for yourself how you want to do things.

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5) Into the silicone moulds, I filled each heart shape only half way with milk chocolate. I then put this into the fridge straight away.

6) Meanwhile I filled half of the foil heart cases fully with milk chocolate and the other half with white chocolate. I put these into the fridge to set.

7) I removed the silicone mould from the fridge and topped up the remaining half of the mould with the white chocolate. I put this back into the fridge to set fully. This results in chocolates half white and half milk chocolate.

8) When the chocolates in the foil cases had set, I removed them from the fridge and used the brush to place some of the edible shimmer on the top of each one. When the chocolates in the silicone mould had set I carefully removed them from the mould.

If you feel a little more adventurous, you could experiment with adding other things to the chocolates, for example some finely chopped nuts. Think about what flavours your better half likes and experiment and have fun!

Butterfly and Heart Necklace

It’s been ages since I have been able to find the time to do any jewellery making. I was recently talking to a friend who I used to do jewellery making with sometimes about this and we decided to put aside a bit of time one weekend to get re-aquantied with our old hobby. Especially as we had just done a big bead shop not long before the last time I made anything.

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I made this long delicate shell butterfly and glass heart necklace.

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I wanted a necklace that was long enough to just fit over my head, as it saves me precious seconds in the morning when getting ready. My timing in the mornings has always been an epic fail. I have always been more productive in the evenings and night times.

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The image below is a pair of earrings and bracelet that my husband made for me at the same time as he wanted to see what this whole jewellery making thing was all about.

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Heart Balloon Nails

This is my design for this year’s Valentine’s Day. It is supposed to look like little heart shaped balloons. Please excuse the dryness of my hands lately.

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I started by painting all my nails in 2 coats of my chosen background colour.

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I then took a large dotting tool and placed 2 dots next to each other so that they overlapped in the middle in every place where I wanted a balloon to be.

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Then using a tiny dotting tool, I made a triangle shape coming downwards from the sides of where I had places each pair of big dots. I then filled in this outline to make each heart.

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Lastly, using a black nail art pen, I made some wiggly lines for the strings of the balloons. Unfortunately my topcoat smeared this a little in places.

Pink Glam Gradient Nails

I’m really pleased with how this one came out and it wasn’t much effort to achieve either.

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I painted all nails except the ring finger in a bright shimmery pink shade. On the ring fingers I used a metallic nail polish that was kind of between a gold and bronze colour.

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On the ring fingers I then used a flakie glitter over the top. This was made up of goldish and light pink flakes.

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Over this I then added a few nail art gems in pink shades. A heart one in the middle and then normal round ones to the sides.

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On the pink nails I sponged on the metallic shade, starting from the tip and working up to the middle of the nail.

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I then added the same flakie glitter polish over the top of the metallic gradient area for a bit of extra glam.

Valentine’s Heart Nails

This year I decided to go for a cartoon heart design for Valentines day.

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For my base colour I went for a very sheer nude pink as I didn’t want it to distract from the design.

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Then using a thin nail art brush I attempted to freehand heart shapes in a shimmery bright red.

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As you can see this came out better on some nails than others. I then went over this in a second coat to make it less streaky.

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Afterwards I used a white nail art pen to add a small highlight to each heart.

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Then I finished off the hearts by outlining them with a black nail art pen before covering with a topcoat.

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Overall I’m happy with how they turned out, but the thumb nail of my left hand definatley came out the best.

Soap Making – #4

Thought I would share some more of my soap making pictures. All these soaps were apple scented and were made up of 2 colours.

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For the above ones I first made 3 round blue soaps. I then cut them up like segments of a cake and split the segments between 6 round moulds. I then filled the gaps with the other colour to get this effect. The only problem was in some places the blue was covered completely so I had to cut away a little bit in places to reveal the blue underneath.

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For these ones I filled a small flower, heart and star shaped mould with the blue and let it set. At the same time I filled round moulds almost full with the other colour. When all was set I placed the blue shapes in the top of the round moulds and filled the rest of the space left full in order to hold them in place.