Saturday, 15 August 2009

Goodbye my darling Ollie

I'm very sad to be writing this but my Ollie passed away this morning. He fought as hard as he could but unfortunately he could not beat the FIP disease. This morning it was evident he had no more fight left in him and after not having eaten barely anything these past couple of days we had to bring him to the vet. The vet confirmed our fears and said it was the right time to let Ollie go. At 9.35am this morning Ollie passed away peacefully in my hubby's arms. Today has been one of the saddest days of my life but I am at peace in the knowledge that Ollie is now in a better place and no longer suffering. I am really going to miss him so much!!

Rest in Peace Ollie
08/07/08 - 15/08/09

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

♥ Happy Birthday Hubby ♥

Today we are celebrating my hubby's 37th birthday! To celebrate the occasion I baked him a 4 layer Vanilla and Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes. Both of which have been thoroughly enjoyed today. It's been a great day of retail therapy, followed by lunch and then ten pin bowling with our son and his girlfriend. We plan to finish the celebrations this evening with a romantic meal for hubby and I at our local Thai restaurant.

Vanilla and Chocolate Layer Cake

For the cake:
340g butter, at room temperature
280g caster sugar
6 eggs, medium
280g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted

For the icing:
520 icing sugar, sifted
220g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan oven 160oC/Gas mark 4. Grease four 8in cake tins, and line the bottoms with greaseproof or baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour on top and fold in. Separate half the mixture into another bowl and sift in the cocoa powder until well combined. Stir in the vanilla extract to the other mixture. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tins and spread out evenly, using the back of the spoon. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Turn out the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, beat together the icing sugar, butter, vanilla and milk until smooth and creamy. Spread each cake layer and then swirl the remaining icing all over the cake.

Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cupcakes

Makes 12

140g soft butter
140g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs
100g self-raising flour
25g cocoa, sifted

For the frosting:
85g milk chocolate, broken
85g soft butter
140g icing sugar, sifted
Sprinkles (optional)

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and put 16 gold cases into a fairy-cake tin. Tip all the ingredients for the cake into a mixing bowl and beat for 2 mins with an electric hand-whisk until smooth. Divide between the cases so they are two-thirds filled, then bake for 12-15 mins until risen. Cool on a wire rack.For the frosting, microwave the chocolate on high for 1 min. Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the melted chocolate. Spread on the cakes and decorate with various sprinkles.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Raspberry and Peach Cake

It’s now raspberry season and I love making use of the current season’s fruits especially in bakes or desserts. I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while now and it comes courtesy of a wonderful book that I bought last year called Cakes & Bakes, a must have! The recipes in the book are all easy to make and this cake was without doubt quick and easy, which is great when you’re short for time. I’d never tried the raspberry and peach combo and the flavours together are simply beautiful and work wonderfully. This is the perfect summer cake with the sweet peaches and fresh raspberries providing a delightfully fruity combination in this light and fluffy cake, topped with a coating of apricot glaze!

Raspberry and Peach Cake

200g unsalted butter, melted
250g self-raising flour, sifted
100g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
125g raspberries
2 large almost-ripe peaches or nectarines, halved, stoned and sliced
4 tbsp apricot jam
Juice of ½ lemon

Preheat the oven to 190oC (170oC fan oven) mark 5. Grease a 8in springform cake tin and baseline with baking parchment.

Put the flour and sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and add the melted butter and the eggs. Mix well.

Spread half the mixture over the base of the cake tin and add half the raspberries and sliced peaches. Spoon on the remaining cake mixture, smooth over, then add the remaining raspberries and peaches, pressing them down into the mixture slightly.

Bake for 1-1 ¼ hours until risen and golden, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes.

Warm the jam and lemon juice together in a small pan and brush over the cake to glaze.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting~Sweet and Simple Bake!

I present to you my offering for this month’s Sweet and Simple Bake! I was over the moon when Rosie presented us with my favourite carrot cake recipe. I have baked this amazing carrot cake many times and it never fails me. It is always a big hit with family and friends, attracting many positive comments and exclamations of delight! There are probably hundreds of recipes for carrot cake but personally a good carrot cake recipe is packed with carrots, spice, nuts, raisins and not forgetting the cream cheese frosting (my cream cheese frosting didn't come out as good as other times due to the humid weather). This recipe without doubt delivers all this; the cake is delectable and a carrot cake lover’s dream! Please pop over to Sweet and Simple Bakes to check out more yummy entries.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 12

180g (6½ oz) self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice
2 eggs
150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable or sunflower oil
200g (7 oz) soft light or dark brown sugar
300g (11 oz) grated carrots
100g (4 oz) sultanas
75g (3 oz) walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cream Cheese icing
75g (3 oz) cream cheese
75g (3 oz) softened butter
125g (4½ oz) icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

For Decoration
Sprinkles or walnut halves – optional
You will need a 13cm x 23cm (5 in x 9 in) loaf tin, oil and line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas mark 2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and leave aside. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, now add the oil, brown sugar, grated carrot, sultanas and chopped walnuts. Stir in all sifted dry ingredients and bring the mixture together with a wooden spoon. Turn into the prepared tin, smooth the top of the mixture and bake in the oven for 1 – 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make The Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl until combined. Add the vanilla extract, icing sugar and mix to combine. Using a palette knife, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Add the sprinkles or walnut halves if desired. Served cut into slices.